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Small Business

Australian Government support
for rural and regional Small Business

The Australian Government is committed to supporting rural and regional small businesses affected by drought and other challenges such as bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The links below take you to information on recovery assistance and the role of the National Drought and Flood Agency in helping small businesses build resilience and get through the tough times.

Regional Recovery Officers 

The National Drought and Flood Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers give you a voice back to the Australian Government on how drought and other challenges are affecting your business, your family and your community.

Regional Recovery Officers serve as champions for their region, working with people to find locally-led solutions and deliver the support and information needed to help communities prosper.

They also play a key coordination role, working with all levels of government, health professionals, counsellors, small businesses, charities, agricultural and community organisations to ensure the Australian Government is delivering an effective on-the-ground presence.

Find out more about the officers and how they can help you here

Recovery Connect – Drought

If you are a small business affected by drought, use Recovery Connect to find support near you from government, charities, and community organisations. Please continue to check back in as we regularly update available services.

Small Business Support Program

Provides free and confidential financial counselling through the Rural Financial Counselling Service for eligible small regional businesses affected by drought, bushfire or COVID-19.

Find out more here


A centralised point of information on support and programs from all levels of government, industry groups and not-for-profit organisations. This connects farmers to a range of helpful services and support.

Visit FarmHub here.

Tax assistance for small businesses 

The Australian Tax Office provides a range of services to small businesses experiencing financial difficulties due to drought, COVID-19 or natural disaster. This includes:

  • Increased small business tax offset – the small business income tax offset can reduce the tax you pay by up to $1,000 each year
  • Increased instant asset write-off
  • PAYG instalment concession
  • Simplified trading stock rules
  • Small business restructure rollover – small businesses can change their legal structure, without incurring any income tax liability, by transferring active assets between entities
  • Lower company tax rate – if you are a base-rate entity you could be eligible for the lower company tax rate of 27.5%

You can phone the ATO on 1800 806 218 to discuss your situation or visit their website.

Business Energy Advice Program

The program provides two free services for eligible small businesses.

  • Business Energy Advice: delivers face-to-face, phone and digital advice to small businesses across Australia
  • Small Business Energy Check: an energy spend benchmarking tool that allows small businesses to compare their energy spend against similar businesses in their industry and region

More information here.

JobKeeper Payment 

A temporary subsidy for businesses significantly affected by COVID-19. Eligible employers, sole traders and other entities can apply to receive payments for eligible employees each fortnight until 28 March 2021.

Apply for the JobKeeper Payment on the Australian Taxation Office website

Boosting cash flow for employers

Eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations who employ staff will receive between $20,000 to $100,000 in cash flow boost amounts by lodging their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020.

More information here

Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy

Provides support in the first three years of an Australian Apprenticeship.

More information here

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

If your small or medium-sized business has a turnover of less than $50 million and has been disrupted by COVID-19, the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new loans granted within six months by eligible lenders to your business.

More information here

Instant Asset Write-Off

Eligible businesses can claim an immediate deduction for the business portion of the cost of an asset in the year the asset is first used, or installed ready for use.

More information here

Relief for renters

The Government has announced a range of measures to help renters. This includes a temporary hold on evictions and a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by coronavirus.

More information here

Small Business Advisory Service – Digital Solutions

Delivers low cost, high quality digital advisory services to metropolitan and regional areas. These services can be provided through one on one consultations, group workshops, remotely online or via telephone.

More information here

New Business Assistance

Helps people to start their own small business and includes training and mentoring.

More information here

Entrepreneurship Facilitators

Provide practical assistance to support and encourage individuals to start a business as a way to create their own job. Entrepreneurship Facilitators deliver services across Australia, with a focus on encouraging entrepreneurship among mature age Australians. 

More information here

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme

Provides businesses with flexible access to tailored advice from a national network of industry experts, connections and networking opportunities, and matched grant funding. It connects small and medium sized businesses with the capabilities and networks they need to innovate, compete and grow in Australian and international markets, and to guide the recovery of small businesses from the impacts of disasters such as bushfires.

More information here

Research and Development Tax Incentive

You may be eligible for a tax benefit to offset some of the cost of your eligible R&D activities. This may be a refundable or non-refundable offset depending on your company.

More information here

South Australia Recovery grants for small business (Bushfire)

Financial assistance of up to $50,000 is available to bushfire impacted small businesses for costs associated with clean-up, restoration and rebuilding.

More information here.

Strengthening Business (Bushfire)

Provides access to a network of experienced business facilitators to assist  bushfire-affected businesses in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria recover and re-establish themselves to be stronger and more resilient.

More information here.

Additional support for Indigenous corporations (Bushfire)

Emergency response grants for any Indigenous corporation whose property has been directly affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires. The grant is also available to Indigenous land management groups and contractors assisting the vital recovery efforts with much needed equipment.

Indigenous corporations should contact the ILSC on 1800 818 490 or EDOAdmin@ilcorp.gov.au 

Queensland assistance 

Queensland Disaster Assistance (Essential Working Capital) Loans (Cat B) 

Concessional loans up to $100,000 to assist small businesses and not-for-profits with essential working capital.

For more information, visit the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority website

Queensland Disaster Assistance Loans – non-profits

Queensland non-profit organisations impacted during disaster events may be eligible for low interest loans and grants to help them recover. 

For more information, visit the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority website

Small Business Disaster Recovery Grants for small businesses impacted by the 2019 North Queensland flood event

Funding of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) may be provided to eligible businesses to engage business consultants, mentors, coaches or an advisory service to assist with business recovery following the monsoonal trough.

For more information, visit the Business Queensland website

Tax assistance for the 2019 North Queensland flood event

Depending on your circumstances, the Australian Taxation Office can offer a range of services to businesses impacted by the 2019 North Queensland floods.

For more information on how the ATO can assist you, call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 or visit their website

Last updated on 31 March 2021