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Helping small business recover, re-open and grow

The Tasmanian Liberal Government recognises that the forestry sector will be a leader in our state’s recovery from COVID-19.

Which is why the Government has announced we will be providing an additional $20 million to help small businesses through the challenges of COVID-19.

This brings our support for small business to $80 million, forming a significant component of our nation-leading COVID-support package.

Small business is the corner stone of the forestry sector and one of our state’s biggest employers. During the past few weeks the Government has been meeting with numerous small business operators, including through a series of regional roundtables, to hear first-hand their experiences and needs to support recovery. This feedback, along with the recommendations made by the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) in its first report, has informed the development of the new $20 million COVID-19 Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Assistance Package.

Our new COVID-19 Small Business funding includes $17 million in grants that will directly help our local operators, and $3 million to enhance existing small business support programs and provide additional mental health support.

The $17 million includes applications for the $15 million Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Grant program, which will open at 12 noon on 3 August 2020 and close at 12 noon on 24 August 2020, with application details for an additional $2 million in a second round of the Small Business Continuity Grant program to be announced in the coming days.

The purpose of the Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Grant program is to assist small businesses across a number of sectors to sustain themselves, recover, re-open, build capacity and innovate whilst continuing to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program will specifically support those eligible small businesses that:

* Operate in sectors that are heavily reliant on the visitor economy and will continue to be directly or indirectly impacted by border closures; OR

* Continue to be significantly impacted directly or indirectly by public health restrictions; OR

* Are reliant on contributing to the local supply chain of sectors that continue to be directly or indirectly impacted by border closures or public health restrictions; OR

* Are heavily reliant on exporting a significant proportion of their product to interstate and/or international markets that continue to be directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions.

Applicants will first need to meet all of the eligibility criteria before being assessed against weighted assessment criteria for the limited number of competitive grants.

PESRAC recommended further support for small and medium businesses to access financial/business advice to assist them to adapt and a round of grants or loans to support businesses transitioning to a sustainable post-COVID operating model. The new package announced today delivers these recommendations, and complements the recently announced trade and export support through the Accelerating Trade Grant Program.

The Tasmanian Government has already delivered the largest economic and social rescue package in the country, proportionate to Gross State Product, including more than $60 million towards our small business support grant programs, which has provided over 18,200 grants to Tasmanian small businesses across the state.

The COVID-19 Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Assistance Package now takes our small business support and stimulus package to more than $80 million, the largest in Tasmanian history.

For further information go to www.business.tas.gov.au or call 1800 440 026.