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Support for the Indigenous business sector affected by COVID-19

Support for the Indigenous business sector affected by COVID-19

Posted 02 April 2020

Edit: Applications for the Business Relief Package closed on 30 June 2022.

Indigenous businesses are significant employers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and generate broader social and economic benefits for their communities. The economic impact of COVID-19 is seeing many of these businesses face significant challenges.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) have developed a new support package for Indigenous businesses who have been impacted by the crisis, including non-IBA customers. The package includes:

  • Access to specialist advice: to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis IBA can provide access to specialist advice such as a rapid assessment of business positioning, cashflow management and assistance to access available stimulus measures.
  • Working capital assistance: all Indigenous businesses can apply for working capital assistance of up to $100,000 via a loan/grant package (assessed on a needs basis), which will consist of:
    • A grant of up to 50% of the package amount;
    • For the loan component, up to 36 months loan term, zero repayments for the first 12 months, and preferential interest rates thereafter.

Up to $50 million in assistance is being provided through these initiatives.

These measures follow earlier relief announced by IBA for its customers. This includes a waiver of interest and deferral of loan repayments for business loan and equipment leasing customers impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis for an initial 4-month period, a reduction in our interest rates for all IBA home loan customers for an initial period of 6 months, as well as deferral of repayments for home loan customers in hardship.

IBA CEO Rajiv Viswanathan said, “We know that many Indigenous businesses will be facing uncertainty and economic hardship now and in the coming months. In this rapidly changing environment, access to a support package like this will help Indigenous businesses to navigate the crisis, and to build resilience for the future.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, noted, “IBA is working closely with the National Indigenous Australians Agency, other Government agencies and sector participants to ensure we have a coordinated approach to assisting Indigenous Australians, families, communities and businesses.

“Indigenous businesses are significant employers of Indigenous Australians across Australia, including in regional and remote areas. By supporting them to get through these tough times, we can help them to keep generating positive economic and social benefits for their communities.”

For more information on support available by IBA during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit iba.gov.au/indigenous-business-australia-covid19-support/

Media contact: Tara Toohill 0427 011 938 or tara.toohill@iba.gov.au