Published on Dec 17, 2019

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Advance Cessnock City has sought out the following information to assist businesses that may be affected by the bush fires.

Practical support is available to all businesses affected by the NSW bushfires, from damaged or destroyed property to disrupted business and reduced income. There is also a business survey being conducted by the NSW Small Business Commission and a range of resources you might like to keep handy.

Support for all businesses, including lost trade or disruption

Solving Problems and Dispute Resolution Service
Access a confidential and free dispute resolution service which has been set up to help small businesses needing assistance to work through problems with other businesses or government. The NSW Small Business Commission helps parties talk about their problems and work towards a solution through negotiation and communication. We can also assist small businesses with issues in relation to insurance and regulatory concerns. Call 1300 795 534 or visit https://www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au/dispute-resolution

Business Connect
A free mobile advisory service is available to small businesses through Business Connect. An advisor can meet you at a convenient place and discuss your business needs. Advice is offered about managing cash flow, planning the next steps, accessing financial support schemes and connecting to additional support. A trusted local business advisor can meet you at your business premises or another convenient location. Register at industry.nsw.gov.au/businessconnect or call 1300 134 359 to book a session with a local advisor.

Tax Assistance
For businesses affected by natural disasters, Revenue NSW can help with payroll tax. Call 1300 139 815 to find out more.

The Australian Tax Office is offering support to businesses affected by the bushfires  and can waive interest charged, set up payment plans with interest free periods and give you more time to pay. Visit the ATO website or call 1800 806 218 to discuss your situation.

Fair Trading
Fair trading can provide information on credit matters to assist people in negotiating repayments with their lenders and fund regional based financial counselling and legal services for people in financial hardship. Provides assistance to businesses regarding fair and ethical practices. Call 13 32 20 or visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Credit/Mortgage Hardship Lines

  • ANZ Bank                                              P: 1800 252 845
  • Commonwealth Bank Hardship             P: 1300 720 814
  • National Australia Bank Care                P: 1800 701 599
  • St George Bank Assist                          P: 1800 629 795
  • Summerland Credit Union                     P: 1300 802 222
  • Newcastle Permanent                           P: 13 19 87
  • Regional Australia Bank Hardship         P: 132 067
  • Bank of Queensland                              P: 1800 079 866
  • Westpac Assist                                      P: 1800 067 497
  • Southern Cross Credit Union                 P: 1300 360 744

Financial Advice

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
ASIC is offering assistance to small businesses that are facing disruption or severe hardship due to the bushfires, including reviewing fees or considering payment options. More information available at https://asic.gov.au/for-business/payments-fees-and-invoices/bushfire-relief/.

Utility Payments Hardship Support
Customers experiencing any form of long term or temporary hardship with management of utility accounts are advised to contact their retail provider to discuss payment options as soon as possible. Get help paying energy bills – http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/?a=295483

Energy and Water Ombudsman
The Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW, provides a free, fair and independent dispute resolution service for all electricity and gas customers in NSW, and some water customers. Call 1800 246 545 or visit https://www.ewon.com.au

Mental Health
The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

  • Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Mensline – 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
  • Beyondblue – 1300 22 4636

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000.

Support for businesses that have had premises or equipment damaged or destroyed

Recovery Grants
Grants of up to $15,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by bush fire. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/disaster-recovery-grants for eligibility criteria.

Natural Disaster Relief Loans
The Natural Disaster Relief Scheme assists Small Business Operators directly affected by a declared natural disaster. Small businesses who have been directly affected by a declared natural disaster including floods, fires or storm damage, may be eligible for low interest loans of up to $130,000. Visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance/disaster-recovery-loans/small-business for more information and loan guidelines.

Australian Government Emergency Information Line
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Allowance (AGDRA) is a short-term payment that is available to eligible Australian citizens whose income has been directly impacted by a declared or widespread disaster. An allowance paid for a maximum of 13 weeks is available to eligible individuals, including employees, sole traders and primary producers, whose income has been directly affected by a declared disaster. Call 180 2266 or visit https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/help-emergency

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organisations/business

Insurance Council of Australia
Can assist policy holders determine which insurer they are with and assisting with general inquiries about the claims process. Call 1300 728 228 or visit www.insurancecouncil.com.au

Safe Work NSW
Will replace NSW licences at no cost to those affected by natural disasters. Call 13 10 50 or visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au

Service NSW
Will replace certificates and drivers licences at no cost to those affected by natural disasters. Call 13 77 88 or visit http://www.service.nsw.gov.au/assistance-bush-fire-affected-communities

Motor Vehicle Stamp Duty Relief
Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of a natural disaster may be eligible for a stamp duty refund on their replacement vehicle. Call 1300 139 814 or visit https://www.revenue.nsw.gov.au

Business Survey: ‘Bushfire impacts on your small business’

Survey from the NSW Small Business Commission
The survey is crucial in assisting Government, Councils, community and business groups understand the impact of bushfires on small businesses. There is still time to have your say by completing the survey – visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SBbushfireimpacts.

More Resources

Get Ready Business: five steps to preparing for disasters
Every year, businesses in NSW  are devastated by disasters. If a disaster strikes, your business may be unable to operate and unable to generate revenue. However, fixed costs will still need to be paid. On top of this, you may incur significant costs in your effort to rebuild your business. Download the resource: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/business-and-industry-in-nsw/assistance-and-support/get-ready-business

Property Hazards following bush fire – SafeWork NSW
Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures that are burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health and safety hazards in the remaining rubble and ash. Review the fact sheet;
https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Documents/factsheets/safework-property-hazards-following-bushfire.pdf

NSW Disaster Recovery are posting updates for Hunter, Greater Sydney, and South Eastern NSW
Community Recovery Information is a recovery newsletter, which aims to support you or anyone you know affected by the fires in Hunter, Greater Sydney and South Eastern NSW regions.
Find information on:
📌 Emergency temporary accommodation
📌 Replacing personal documents
📌 Animal welfare
📌 Clean up considerations
📌 Insurance
📌 Disaster Relief Grants
Read the latest news from: https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Pages/for-the-community/disaster-assistance/disaster-assistance.aspx

Fires Near Me
https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me

Stay safe through this Bush Fire season, during bush and grass fires where there is a threat to the community, updates are posted by NSW Fire Service herehttps://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/major-fire-updates

Outside of these periods, check Fires Near Me page for information on incidents in your area. If you see a fire without a fire truck in attendance, please call Triple Zero (000).

For more information, please visit the individual links.