Local businesses need simpler and faster disaster recovery assistance

Date published: 5 April 2019

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill is urging all local businesses affected by the unprecedented monsoon to apply to access the disaster recovery assistance.

Local businesses are entitled to $50,000 in financial assistance funded by the Federal and State Governments – with up to $10,000 paid out up front.

However, Cr Hill said there had been numerous reports of businesses not being able to access the funding because the paperwork is too lengthy and complicated.

“Significant changes to the application process need to be made to ensure local businesses are easily able to access the recovery assistance they are entitled to,” Cr Hill said.

“This funding is crucial to ensure local businesses re-open and keep local workers in their jobs.”

Townsville Local Recovery and Resilience Group Chair Deputy Mayor Les Walker urged Federal and State Governments to agree to changes to make the application process simpler and fairer for local businesses.

“Ensuring our local businesses recover is so important to the future of our city’s economy,” Cr Walker.

“I’d encourage both Federal and State Governments to make these changes to simplify the application process as swiftly as possible.

“The up-front grant for businesses should be lifted to $20,000 and the criteria should be broadened to allow it to be used on professional services such as financial advice or legal support.”

Governance and Finance Committee Chair Cr Verena Coombe said the local business community deserved certainty on the process for accessing disaster recovery assistance before the upcoming Federal election.

“Elections increase uncertainty and impact on trading conditions at the best of times and that’s why our community needs these improvements made before we go to the polls,” Cr Coombe.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and it’s crucial that they are able to easily access the support they are entitled to.”