Click through the options below to find information, links and contacts.
The following grants are available for businesses, primary producers, councils and other organisations in bushfire-affected areas.
Recovery grants for farm businesses
Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants of up to $75,000 per business are available to assist primary producers directly affected by this season’s bushfires.
Eligible activities include:
- disposing of dead stock
- rebuilding or replacing damaged or destroyed on-farm infrastructure
Victorian Bushfire Emergency Transport Support Program
This program provides subsidies for primary producers, including apiarists, to pay for emergency farm transport. The subsidy covers up to 50 per cent of total transport costs, to a maximum of $15,000 (excluding GST) per farm business.
Eligible primary producers can claim the support for costs that directly address immediate animal welfare and safety needs, including:
- transport of emergency fodder for stock to fire-affected properties
- transport of stock to agistment including returning stock
- transport of stock to sale or slaughter
- transport of emergency stock drinking water
Farm Household Allowance
The Farm Household Allowance is a Commonwealth Government program that provides assistance to farming families experiencing financial hardship. This program focuses on helping farmers make important decisions to improve their long-term financial situation. The support available includes:
- a fortnightly payment for up to 4 years in each specific 10-year period
- supplementary allowances such as rent assistance, telephone and pharmaceutical allowances and a Health Care Card
- individual case support with a Farm Household Case Officer (FHCO)
- a financial assessment of the farm enterprise worth up to $1500
- a $4000 activity supplement that gives farmers an opportunity to develop skills
Support for small business
Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grants
Grants of up to $50,000 are now available to eligible Victorian small businesses and non-profit organisations directly affected by the Victorian bushfires.
This program is uncapped and means that businesses and organisations that have sustained damage as a result of the fires can access up to $50,000 in grant funding, tax free.
Concessional loans of up to $500,000 are also available for eligible small businesses (including farmers, fishers and foresters) and non-profit organisations who have suffered significant asset loss or significant loss to revenue
For the first 2 years, repayments will not be required and interest will not accrue. After this interest free period, the applicable concessional interest rate for loans is 0.82% for the 2019/20 financial year. This rate is subject to an annual review over the 10 year concessional interest rate period.
Community-led Recovery Initiatives
Bushfire Recovery Victoria will be directly facilitating a grants program, in conjunction with Community Recovery Committees, to support community-led recovery initiatives.
Community Recovery and Resilience Grants
Regional Development Victoria will work with councils and lead a grants program for community events, arts initiatives and leadership workshops to:
- bring communities together
- build resilience
- assist in healing
- raise awareness of support services
Interested councils can contact:
Regional Development Victoria - Wangaratta
Regional Development Victoria - Traralgon
The Rural Financial Counselling Service can provide support with:
- farm and small business recovery planning
- recovery grant and assistance program applications
- support payment and loan applications
- handling financial matters
- connections to other assistance, services and referrals to professional service providers
Services are free and confidential.
Fencing repair and upgrade - national parks, state parks and state forests
The Victorian Government will pay half the cost of materials to repair, replace or upgrade bushfire-damaged fencing bordering national parks, state parks and state forests.
Previously, the Government has paid half the cost of materials to replace bushfire-damaged fencing in these circumstances, but only to its pre-existing standard.
Under this program, the Government will fund half the cost of materials to provide an upgrade for fire-resistant and pest-resistant fencing to a maximum of $5,000 per kilometre. Funding does not cover labour costs.
Upgrade options available
Fencing upgrade options include:
- fire-resistant materials, such as steel or concrete components
- pest control designs, such as insulated wires for electric fencing
Improved fencing is one option available to landholders. The offer to cover half the cost of materials is still available to landholders if they just want to replace fencing to its pre-existing standard.
How to access the program
- DELWP will conduct field inspection and data collection, when it is safe to do so, determine eligibility and assistance level and assist the landholder in determining fence type.
- Once parties formally agree with a signed agreement, a claim is processed, and monies are paid to the landholder.
- DELWP may accept photos from landholders as evidence for damaged and/or burnt fences where they haven’t yet been able to visit for an assessment.
- The information provided by the landholder will need to be confirmed with an assessor before the claim is finalised.
Conducting the works
Once a claim has been lodged with DELWP and an assessment has been conducted, landowners can engage a fencing contractor of their choice.
Landowners may choose to conduct the works themselves. This should be discussed at the time of assessment.
Timeline for the program
Landholders have 12 months to lodge a claim from when the damage occured.
Specialised fences or steep/rocky terrain
Some fences are on steep or rocky terrain so replacement may incur significant additional costs. These will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. DELWP will discuss this with the landholder.
Disputes about fence lines
DELWP will use statewide fencing guidelines to assist in determining fencing replacement arrangements with the landholder.
Other fencing advice
Fence damage from fire suppression operations
Where fences have been cut or damaged by fire suppression operations, the Government will:
- fully cover the repair or replacement of the damaged section of fence to the pre-existing standard - including internal and boundary fences
Internal fencing on private land
The fencing repair and upgrade program for fences bordering national parks, state parks and state forests does not:
- cover the repair and replacement of internal fences on private land, landholders are responsible for internal fences on private land
Bushfire Recovery Victoria can also connect landholders with Agriculture Victoria who will be able to provide technical assistance.
Fences adjoining other government owned or managed land
The fencing repair and upgrade program for fences bordering national parks, state parks and state forests does not:
- cover the repair and replacement of fences that adjoin other government owned or managed land, including local councils, Regional Roads Victoria, water authorities or VicTrack
The Victorian Government will repair or replace damaged riparian fences (i.e. fences along waterways) if the original fence was erected with government funds.
Clearing native vegetation along fence lines
A planning permit is not required to:
- remove, destroy or lop native vegetation to the minimum extent necessary to enable the operation or maintenance of an existing fence or the construction of a boundary fence between properties in different ownership
The clearing along both sides of the fence when combined must not:
- exceed 4 metres in width
If 1 side of the fence is already cleared to a width of 4 metres or more, regardless of when this clearing occurred, then up to 1 metre of native vegetation can be removed on the other side.
Storing and disposing of fencing material
Bushfire Recovery Victoria is working with local government on options to safely dispose of fencing material. Until these arrangements can be finalised, landholders may wish to separate fencing material from debris and contaminants and store it in a safe and secure location on their property. Landholders should only undertake this activity where it is safe to do so.
Other options for fence repair
Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants
Grants of up to $75,000 are available to primary producers through Rural Finance to help with the costs of rebuilding, including fencing. You can access these grants on or by contacting Bushfire Recovery Victoria at .
BlazeAid are a volunteer organisation providing assistance with clearing, repairing or re-establishing fencing. The Victorian Government provided $1 million to BlazeAid to help landholders replace boundary fences. Visit for information on how to access this assistance.
The 2020 Clean-Up Program covers the demolition and disposal of all buildings destroyed or damaged beyond repair by this seasons’ bushfires (including residential homes and sheds, commercial and public buildings, and other out-buildings).
This may include the removal of fencing, trees and vehicles but only where it is necessary for the safe clean-up of destroyed buildings.
The program is funded by the Victorian Government and is free of charge for all property owners, regardless of whether you are insured.
Where possible, Grocon will engage local contractors in the clean-up effort to support jobs in fire-affected regions. If you're a qualified contractor who wants to work with Grocon on the clean-up, register your interest on .
Government support for tourism operators
This includes support for a dedicated staff member to work directly with operators and coordinate marketing and campaign activities.
Business and Sport for Bushfire Recovery
The Victorian Government has also released details of a new initiative that will see more than 115 major organisations hold multi-day stays in bushfire affected areas in regional Victoria.
More than 185 organisations have already backed the initiative, including the Herald & Weekly Times, AFL, NAB, Richmond Football Club, Cricket Australia, Crown, Tennis Australia, Alibaba, Swisse, PwC, Bosch Australia and AustralianSuper.
Bushfire recovery events program
The Victorian Government has announced that a round of the Regional Events Fund will deliver up to $300,000 for events in bushfire-affected areas. Visit Victoria is managing the program and has made changes to the standard guidelines and processes in order to fast-track support for bushfire-affected communities.
The Victorian Government has announced the following tax and bill relief measures for businesses in bushfire-affected areas:
These measures are available for the designated 'State of Disaster' areas (East Gippsland Shire, Mansfield Shire, Wellington Shire, Wangaratta Rural Shire, Towong Shire, Alpine Shire):
- Immediate regional payroll tax relief so that regional employers only pay 25 per cent of the metropolitan rate, backdated to 1 July 2019.
The State Revenue Office will communicate with businesses to ensure annual or monthly returns reflect the special rate. As the special rate is back-dated, businesses who have already filed monthly returns will receive a refund of tax overpaid.
This relief will apply to ‘regional employers’ who pay at least 85 per cent of their taxable wages to ‘regional employees’. Regional employees are those who perform more than half of their monthly services in regional Victoria.
- A 50 per cent concession on stamp duty for eligible properties, allowing businesses to relocate, expand or move into the fire-affected areas.
- Businesses, families, and individuals whose properties have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfires will receive relief for their 2020 land tax assessment.
Water rates will be waived for 12 months for all homes or businesses destroyed or significantly damaged by fire.
East Gippsland Water and North East Water have already suspended billing and debt recovery for customers in the declared State of Disaster areas.
Victorians receiving automatic rebates will start to see the benefit from February, when their next quarterly water bill is due to be issued:
- East Gippsland Water customers - this will be from early February
- North East Water customers - this will be from end of February
Some rebates are also available for customers affected by interruptions to their water supply:
- Victorians directly impacted by fires who have had water service interruptions or boil water notices for their property will receive an automatic rebate of $50 off their current quarterly bill (to be issued in February).
- Victorians directly impacted by fires who were subject to an evacuation order (and therefore may have used significantly more water than normal to prepare their properties for the immediate fire threat) and are in special circumstances are eligible for a rebate of up to $50 on request.
- Victorians indirectly impacted by fires (but not subject to an evacuation notice) and who are in special circumstances are eligible for a rebate of $20-50 on request.
Agriculture Victoria is providing animal welfare assessments and referring urgent cases of personal need to appropriate agencies. It also has technical information and tools on topics including:
- stock containment areas
- assessing sheep after a bushfire
- assessing cattle after a bushfire
- horses affected by bushfires
- agisting livestock affected by a bushfire
- disposing of carcasses after bushfire
Emergency stock movement
Agriculture Victoria has put in place an exemption to help Victorian producers impacted by fires move their livestock for sale or slaughter.
Cattle, sheep and goats can be dispatched from a fire-affected property without a tag but a vendor declaration must be completed and Agriculture Victoria must be notified within seven days.
- stock moved without tags must be tagged with a post-breeder tag at the earliest opportunity
- owners receiving tagged livestock must notify the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database
- untagged livestock can be consigned to an abattoir from properties in fire affected areas
- owners must contact the Agriculture Victoria NLIS helpline to obtain a permit and must complete a vendor declaration
If you have property or contents insurance you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the fire.
- Ask your insurer for advice on actions you should take.
- Do not dispose of damaged items without first consulting your insurance company.
- Make a list of items that have been damaged. Take photographs if possible.
- Keep receipts for any emergency repair work.
Reviewed 21 February 2020