Bushfire recovery loans are facing delays

Bushfire affected businesses across Australia are still waiting for applications to open or be approved for recovery loans unveiled by the federal government.

Almost 300 bushfire hit businesses have applied for government loans since the scheme has opened, yet just one application has been approved so far.

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Regional Australia is struggling. Photo: FDP

Bushfire affected businesses across Australia are still waiting for applications to open or be approved for recovery loans unveiled by the federal government last month.

Almost 300 bushfire hit businesses have applied for government loans since the scheme has opened, yet just one application has been approved so far.

SYSTEM IN SHAMBLES

As the aftermath of the Australian bushfires continues to be felt across the country, new information has revealed that grant and loan options available to affected companies is facing delays.

According to reports, more than 230 applications have been lodged in New South Wales since February 3, with another 60 submitted in South Australia. Victoria have only just opened their scheme in the last week, after delays developing the ‘guidelines’ required.

So far, only one loan has been approved, and this is to a business in Queensland — a state where two applications have been made in total.

Scott Morrison recently said support was “flowing in a range of ways”, including prioritised tax refunds of $3.2 billion in bushfire affected communities. However as the smoke settles, the recovery package continues to fail reaching those in need.

“Every day we hear from concerned small business owners and workers, from Bairnsdale to Ulladulla and everywhere in between, who have been waiting weeks for the government to release desperately needed funding to keep themselves afloat,” employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said.

“Businesses have no cashflow to pay bills and workers have had shifts cancelled, or been put off entirely, due to the business downturn at what is normally the busiest time of the year.”

The ‘National Bushfire Recovery Agency’ assured businesses that it is working with states to ensure “timely activation” of the application process in coming weeks.

Business groups initially praised the initiatives, but are now slamming the process as “a mess”, including business owners becoming confused about where to apply for assistance.

“At the moment it’s a bit of a mess, it’s a bit all over the place … it really isn’t working and people are totally confused,” the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia said.

Residents say many businesses in the region have been looking for quick, easy-to-understand information, and assumed all support measures would be available once announced.

DESTABILISATION CONTINUES

It is not only businesses directly affected by fires that are feeling the burden, as areas starved of tourists also urge the government to make it easier to apply for loans and grants — saying they too are struggling to access relief money.

Glennie Dawson, who owns Glennie’s Seafood & Burger Shack in the NSW South Coast town of Dalmeny, near Narooma, said her application for a government disaster relief grant had been knocked back because her business was “not physically damaged by fire”.

Interestingly, she also said she was not interested in the federal and state governments $500,000 concessional loan scheme, because it would add to her existing debt.

How many Australians are aware that most of these schemes, if indeed are eventually paid to victims, will have to be paid back by the victims too? Could this be at the heart of the issue?

Let’s not forget, UN Agenda 2030 is set to become the main reference for resource and land management policies and programmes at a national level.

Not only was Australia heavily involved in the formative stages of the United Nations, but the country has strongly promoted international policies and reforms across a broad range of issues — interlinking a model that is marching towards world governance.

The Australian bushfires marked the beginning of this plan in Australia, and evidence has shown the events are heavily linked to ongoing smart city developmentsanother element of Agenda 2030.

Critics of the document say Agenda 2030 will force millions off their land across regional locations, and a key component of this plan will be the intentional worsening of living standards for those most vulnerable — until they sell their land, become enslaved to further debt or move to the smart cities.

Today, small businesses remain anxious and uncertain about their future, with questions remaining as to which businesses are eligible and how they apply. Not to mention that if they are eligible, when will the money start flowing? Perhaps the critics were right all along.

Sadly, this has become a scene all too familiar during the Australian bushfire saga.

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WHERE IS THE SUPPORT?

As money continues to pour in from all over the world to numerous charities and organisations, frustrations are starting to surface over the continued delays and mismanagement of the funds.

Hundreds of millions of dollars has been donated from across the world to Australian bushfire victims, but those impacted are still yet to see any of the funds.

The $50 million campaign raised by Celeste Barber is set to face ongoing ‘legal hurdles’, while Australian charities have announced they will be keeping most of the funds for themselves.

This week, the Australian Red Cross has received $95 million to date for their campaign, yet have announced they will allocate just $30 million of the total sum for bushfire victims.

This means only a third of the money donated to the Red Cross will be distributed to victims, when there are communities who cannot afford basic essentials across the country.

Red Cross Director Noel Clements admitted some people were waiting for relief money as there were ‘challenges’ in proving where they lived. He emphasised that recovery is a “long-term process” and it will take six months for some people to make claims or decide whether to rebuild.

This examples are becoming far too similar of a recurring narrative to follow the bushfire saga: Victims have not received any support, while charities, organisations and governments keep the finances for themselves.

While many across the country remain in a state of disbelief over the behaviour of charities and government officials during this time, as we have explored, the real agenda behind these destabilizing actions is intentional.

Regional Australia needs our help more than ever. Perhaps we should all go directly to the source and support these towns, as we all know the government will continue to leave them stranded.

Stay tuned for further continued coverage.


RELATED CONTENT

Bushfire loans, grants should be easier to get, small businesses say | Sydney Morning Herald

Only one bushfire-hit business given loan | News.com.au

‘A bit of a mess’: Business baffled by bushfire loan delays | Sydney Morning Herald

Bushfire donations: Where is the money? | TOTT News

Australian Bushfires: A Smart City Conspiracy? | TOTT News

The UN takeover of Australian society | TOTT News



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