Frequently Asked Questions - Severe weather & flooding 27 June 2022 onwards

What is the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather & Flooding?

The Special Disaster Grants - Severe Weather & Flooding provides eligible primary producers up to

$75,000 and is designed to help pay for the costs of clean-up and reinstatement of primary production enterprises that have suffered direct damage as a result of the eligible disaster.

What is the easiest way to apply for the grant?

The easiest way to receive your grant is to apply via the Rural Assistance Authority's (RAA) online application form.

Who can apply for the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather &Flooding?

Primary producers who have been directly impacted by the NSW Severe Weather & Flooding from 27 June 2022 onwards, located in a declared Local Government Area (LGA) can apply for up to $75,000.

To be eligible for the grant, you must:

  • Be a primary producer
  • Draw at least 50% of your gross income from your primary production enterprise
  • Contribute a part of your labour to the primary production enterprise
  • Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at the time of the disaster Have a primary production enterprise located in the defined area that has suffered direct damage as a result of this event.
  • Have been engaged in carrying on the primary production enterprise when affected by this event.
  • Have lodged an application on or before the application close date listed on the RAA website.
  • Intend to re-establish or continue the primary production enterprise.
How much can I claim and do I need to repay the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather & Flooding?

Up to $75,000 can be claimed per affected property that is operated by eligible separate businesses, to help with the costs associated with immediate clean- up and repairs to infrastructure. This is a grant and not a loan, meaning you don’t need to repay the funds.

Can I apply more than once if I have multiple Properties?

Applicants who operate their primary production enterprise under a single ABN on separate properties may apply for multiple grants if they can satisfy the below criteria:

a) the staffing arrangements of the separate primary production enterprises
b) whether the primary production enterprises have their own plant, equipment or stock
c) the accounting arrangements of the separate primary production enterprises
d) whether the separate primary production enterprises operate under their own trading names
e) the commercial scale, viability and autonomy of each primary production enterprise.

I run my primary production enterprise on the same property as another primary producer. Can we both apply?

Where two or more independent and separately owned and registered primary producers operate from the same property, each primary producer may receive a maximum grant to the maximum available - refer to the program guidelines for more information.

How long do I have to apply?

Application close dates vary depending on your LGA - please refer to the RAA website for close dates for applications and claims.

Can I apply for the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather & Flooding before I have incurred expenses?

Yes, application forms can be completed online before costs are claimed and an up-front grant of $25,000 will be paid once your claim is approved.

What information do I need to provide with my application?

Applicants must provide a complete application form and:

  • Latest farm business tax returns and financial statements plus personal tax return of all members of the business;
  • Local Land Services (LLS) rate notice. For land based aquaculture farms your Aquaculture Permit number/s for your property and for lease holders, your Class A aquaculture Permit number;
  • May include other evidence such as quotes, estimates, tax invoices and/or photos.

If you have been approved for assistance and provided the above documents to us in the past 12 months, you may not need to provide them again.

View the list of eligibility criteria in the program guidelines.

What do I do if I don’t have my current tax returns?

You can provide permission for the RAA to contact your accountant directly to obtain them.

I don’t have a copy of my Local Land Service (LLS) rates notice?

LLS can send you a copy of your LLS rates notice. Please contact LLS on 1300 795 299 to request a copy.

I have more than three properties however the application form only allows me to enter the details of three?

You should enter the details of the properties where the majority of damage was incurred. If you require further information, please contact the RAA directly on 1800 678 593.

Is GST included in any payment received?

No. The GST component of any invoice received can be claimed on completion of your Business Activity Statement (BAS). The RAA will not issue a Recipient Created Tax Invoice (RCTI) on payment of the rebate, and you should retain the Payment Advice that is forwarded as a record for taxation purposes.

Do I need to provide financial statements if I am an existing RAA customer?

If you have previously submitted tax returns to the RAA for the financial year 2019/2020 (FY2019/20) or more recently, you will not need to provide further information.

How do I prove damage from the severe weather and/or floods?

To make it easier for you to apply, the RAA has access to third party damage assessment information, for example high-resolution imagery, to confirm the extent of the impacts in declared flood-affected local government areas in NSW.

However, it is important that you provide reasonable evidence of severe weather/flood damage with your application so we can fully assess your situation.

Some examples include:

  • Quotes or estimates for works to be completed. Tax invoices of expenses incurred for clean up or salvage works already completed following the severe weather and flooding which commenced on 27 June 2022.
  • Photos taken of damaged property with time, date and location stamps. These are not mandatory however will assist us to assess your claim.
What evidence do I need to provide to receive payment of the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather & Flooding?

A total of $75,000 is available for primary producers. Funds of up to $25,000 will be provided to eligible, approved applicants, without the need to provide evidence of payment at the point of application. Such funds can be provided on the basis of quotes or estimates.

If you have applied for more than $25,000 you will be required to provide proof of payment for both the first $25,000, as well as any amount that you want to be reimbursed for over

$25,000 up to the maximum of $75,000. Proof of payment can come in the form of bank statements, receipts, zero balance invoices.

Do I need to provide proof of payment of the $75,000 upfront?

You can elect to provide proof of payment such as invoices for the full $75,000 or you can choose to do this in stages as you incur the cost.

We recommend you wait for the outcome of your application before submitting invoices. Once your application has been assessed an assessment officer will send you information to assist with the claims process.

What if I haven’t been in business long enough for my business to achieve 50% production yet?

The RAA will look at your situation. Some businesses will take a shorter period of time to achieve full production (eg beef cattle) while others will take longer (eg. orchards). We will review your financial statements and look for a trend toward the timeline   to full production that fits for your industry.  The RAA may request additional information to support your application eg. Cash Flow Forecast

What can I apply for?

The Special Disaster Grant – Severe Weather & Flooding is designed to help primary producers pay for immediate clean-up and repairs to infrastructure and replacing livestock (including oyster spat). Eligible activities are outlined in the program guidelines, please check the guidelines prior to applying.

Note Future resilience – focusses on replacement of infrastructure including fencing and roads where the intention of the replacement is to improve resilience to future natural disaster events through the use of more durable materials or design. The intention is to encourage responsible infrastructure replacement rather than business expansion.

Funding cannot be used for activities already covered by insurance or other government funding programs.

Can I use the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather & Flooding to buy replacement machinery and plant that was damaged?

Yes, you can use the grant to cover the repair or replacement costs of agricultural equipment.

Can I claim the loss of income?

No, the grant cannot be used to reimburse the loss of income.

Can I claim for the hours I spend on clean up and repairing the business?

You can claim for third parties including independent contractors to help with clean up and repair. When it comes to paying staff, the time of owners or shareholders in the business cannot be claimed. You can, however, claim the hours of employees who have no ownership role in the business, where you can show that those hours are above standard day to day wages and can be explained on the basis of cleaning up and repairs in relation to the natural disaster event.

I have never had to plant pasture before as I have always had natural growth, however due to flooding I now don’t have any feed in the paddock and the pasture recovery process will be slow, likely taking months to re-grow. Can I claim for pasture recovery?

Yes – you can claim for pasture recovery. To assess claims for pasture recovery we need evidence of how much of the paddock has been damaged and an understanding of what the land was being used for prior to the flood and the future intentions. Please provide any supporting information or documents, which could include, previous invoices for expenses, invoices for input costs and/or photos.

I want to salvage my crop and/or restore my fields – what can I claim?

Yes – you can claim for salvaging crops and restoring fields. To assess these claims we need evidence of how much of the crop/fields has been damaged and an understanding of what the land was being used for prior to the flood and the future intentions. Please provide any supporting information or documents which could include, previous invoices for expenses, invoices for input costs and/or photos.

Can I use my own machinery to clear my paddocks?

Yes - you can use  your  own  machinery  however, under the grant guidelines the RAA will  only  pay  for the diesel/fuel cost associated with  the  use  of  this that this piece of machinery uses. You will be required to complete a detailed  logbook  showing  hours worked, details  of  improvements,  machinery  used, etc. and the paid diesel/fuel invoice showing the litres purchased.

Only part of my crop has been impacted by the flood event–am I able to claim costs associated with the replacement of this crop?

Yes - replacement of damaged crops is eligible however, evidence is required to demonstrate the extent of the damages being claimed. Please provide any supporting information or documents which could include, previous invoices for expenses, invoices for input costs and/or photos. Please note if only a portion of the crop has been damaged, the RAA will need to assess the full scope of damages to ascertain those replacement costs that are eligible.

Can I use this grant to cover damages where I have made a claim under insurance?

Damages covered by insurance are not eligible to be claimed under this program. You are only able to claim for portions of costs not covered by insurance.

Can I apply for the Special Disaster Grants – Severe Weather & Flooding if I have already been approved for assistance for the February/ March 2021,9 November 2021 and/or Feb 2022 flood event?

RAA recognises that you may have been impacted by a number of declared disaster events over the past 12 months and that allocating a claim (ie an invoice) to any one of these events will be difficult. We ask that you use your best endeavours to ensure proper record keeping. RAA will work with you to allocate a claim (ie an invoice) to the relevant event but acknowledges that in some instances this may not be possible. In these circumstances, RAA will use our discretion to allocate the invoice to the most relevant event based on the information provided.

After I receive my initial $25,000, how do I claim the remaining $50,000?

You have 12 months from the date of declaration to submit a claim.

After I receive my initial $25,000, how do I claim the remaining $50,000?

We recommend you wait for the outcome of your application before submitting invoices. Once your application has been assessed an assessment officer will send you information to assist with the claims process.

You must submit your claims through the online claims form. You will need to have your tax invoices along with proof of payment. The RAA will send information via email with a link to the claim form once your grant is approved. The claim form will ask you for some of the details found on your invoices and will then ask you to upload a copy of the invoice and proof of payment.

How long will it take to be approved?

Our commitment to you is to assess your application efficiently and effectively to help bring your primary production enterprise back to normal operations as quickly as possible.

How does the RAA protect itself against fraud?

The RAA has a strong commitment to fraud prevention, detection, and response. Making a fraudulent application, including providing false or misleading information is a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment, or a fine of $22,000, or both.

The RAA will also attempt to recover any assistance received as a result of fraud. More information can be found on our Fraud and Corruption webpage.

Where can I get further assistance?

Rural Financial Counselling Service

If you are experiencing any issues completing the application form, free confidential assistance is available from your local Rural Financial Counselling Service.

Southern Region: 1800 319 458
Northern Region: 1800 344 090

Translations

If you need assistance with interpreting or translating, please contact Multicultural NSW on 1300 651 500 or email languageservices@multicultural.nsw.gov.au.

Rural Assistance Authority (RAA)

If you have any further questions about the Special Disaster Grants - Severe Weather & Flooding please contact the RAA on 1800 678 593 or at rural.assis@raa.nsw.gov.au.