$4.7m financial counselling support for regional businesses
SMALL regional businesses struggling to stay afloat during COVID-19 shutdowns have been offered a hand of support through a new bout of government funding.
The Australian Government has committed more than $4.7 million to provide small regional businesses affected by COVID-19 with access to free and confidential financial counselling.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development minister Michael McCormack said the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) could support hundreds of regional small businesses.
"Today's announcement is another step forward in regional Australia's economic recovery from this pandemic, with more investment in industries and businesses hardest hit," Mr McCormack said.
"The service will also create jobs for small business financial counsellors and support workers.
"This builds on our previously announced support for regional aviation and airfreight, export industries, the arts industry and tourism businesses."
Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management minister David Littleproud said the funding would help eligible small businesses access the immediate advice and assistance they need to keep afloat and navigate the road to recovery.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our regional communities and we know that many are struggling through drought and trying to recover from this season's devastating bushfires," Mr Littleproud said.
"This measure is designed to ensure that businesses remain resilient through the COVID-19 downturn and are able to rebound when normal trading conditions resume.
"This funding is in addition to the $7 million already provided for small business financial counselling services in drought-affected communities."
Small and Family Business minister Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the funding is part of the Government's focus on keeping businesses viable, Australians in jobs and supporting the national economy.
"We have over 3.5 million small businesses across the country, they are the backbone of our economy and a key part of our COVID-19 recovery," Minister Cash said.
"Today's announcement builds on a comprehensive suite of existing support measures that encourage economic growth in impacted regions. I encourage all small business owners to reach out and take advantage of the range of initiatives on offer to assist them."
The funding is part of the Government's $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund, which is delivering targeted assistance to regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
More information on the fund is available at https://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/covid-19-relief-and-recovery-fund.aspx.