Bushfire focus turns to farmers, business

Scott Morrison is expected to release details of support for small businesses affected by bushfires.
Scott Morrison is expected to release details of support for small businesses affected by bushfires.

Helping small business and rural industry not only recover from the devastating bushfires but improve their operations will be on the federal government's agenda on Thursday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to release details of support for small businesses affected by fires, following a meeting earlier in the week attended by about 100 business owners and peak body chiefs.

The head of the government's bushfire recovery agency says it wasn't just the physical loss but the loss of tourism traffic in fire-affected areas.

"Unlike a lot of disasters, there's a consequential effect here," Andrew Colvin told Sky on Thursday.

"We have to think about this much more broadly. My lens is much more long-term. What do we do to rebuild the economy in some of these regions?"

Mr Colvin said he hoped to have local economies functioning better than they were before the fires.

Small business operators met with Mr Morrison earlier this week where a range of support was canvassed including rent, loan and rates relief, accounting assistance, fast-tracked invoices being paid by big businesses and tourism marketing for the hardest-hit regions.

Thursday's expected package will be part of the government's $2 billion bushfire recovery strategy.

As well, Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie will meet with representatives from the transport and farm sectors on Thursday to discuss what more can be done to get rural industry back on its feet.

On Tuesday, the government announced a plan to provide up to $75,000 to affected farmers to cover the cost of fences, sheds, machinery, carcase disposal or other work to meet their immediate needs.

At least $100 million in grants will be available but the scheme has not been capped.

The meeting with Senator McKenzie is expected to receive a detailed update on the situation and how it is impacting rural industry.

Representatives of various peak bodies will brief the meeting on how their industries have been impacted, what risks the industry is facing, the role played by the organisation to date and what assistance would best help now and further into the recovery phase.

Australian Associated Press