World Falls Creek businesses call for financial support after Bogong High Plains Road landslide
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Falls Creek residents are calling for targeted financial assistance to support businesses hit by the landslide on Bogong High Plains Road.
The federal government confirmed in parliament this week that eligible residents could apply for financial support under the Disaster Recovery Allowance if they had lost income due to the landslide.
But Falls Creek Chamber of Commerce president Lisa Logan – who also manages a lodge in the area – said support for businesses was sorely needed.
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"When you've still got electricity bills, you've still got operational bills, it's bigger than just running a household in a lot of instances," she said.
"There are a few businesses up there that are still trying to keep their restaurants open to service those people that are either living or working up there.
"They're running at a loss.
"It's hard to operate, in my case a 50-bed lodge, when you have only one or two people coming through only once a week."
'Really quite down'
Ms Logan said she could not justify opening her business without some assurance that she could secure supplies.
"I can't even get staff because no one wants to be cut off from their home if they can't get home each day," she said.
Ms Logan said at least 20 businesses, including coffee shops to a tour company, had been affected.
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Saint Falls Resort general manager Kate Moegel said cancellations had cost the business hundreds of thousands of dollars.
She said the mood was flat in the community at the moment.
"Everyone is really quite down with the idea that this is going to go on forand into March," Ms Moegel said.
"All of our January, February events, our Christmas bookings, are going to be impacted.
"There is no-one around — it's like a ghost town."
Options for support
A spokesperson for the Victorian government said the state was working with Falls Creek Alpine Resort and the council to understand the effects on businesses.
"We’re connecting those businesses with relevant government support," they said.
"Business Victoria has established a Business Relief Service to provide free one-on-one support via telephone to business owners affected by floods and other emergencies.”
A one-off grant of $5,000 and access to dedicated relief advisers were also available for Falls Creek Resort and Alpine Shire businesses under the government's Small Business Immediate Flood Relief Program.
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It is understood successful applicants can also apply for up to $50,000 under the Business and Community Sport Flood Recovery Grant.
The federal government said it was continuing to work closely with all levels of government in Victoria to provide financial assistance for people, businesses and communities impacted by the direct consequences of storms and flooding, including the landslide.
A spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency said under the jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRF), Victorians whose homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged in the floods could have their properties cleared of hazards and made safe at no cost.
They also said that a recovery support package worth up to $877 million was available to help support businesses, farmers and not-for-profits rebuild and return to trading as quickly as possible.
"In addition, the Australian Government’s Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA), payable for a maximum of 13 weeks, assists employees and sole traders who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster," the spokesperson said.
"If an individual who lives or works in an affected local government area (or Falls Creek) has lost income as a direct result of the landslide blocking Bogong High Plains Road they may be eligible for DRA, provided all other eligibility criteria is met."
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