Flood affected business still waits recovery grant
A West Melbourne business owner whose shop suffered an estimated $1.5 million in damages after being inundated with floodwaters last October says he has not been able to access financial support promised by the state government.
The state and federal governments last October announced recovery grants of up to $200,000 would be available for medium and large businesses that were directly impacted by the floods to help them return to trade as quickly as possible as part of a $877 million Recovery Support package.
However, Richard Noble, the co-owner of Aftershock PC in West Melbourne, which had 111 pallets of computer equipment damaged from the floods, said, “at the moment there’s no information at all” in accessing the $200,000 grant, which did not exist on the state government’s website to make an application.
“I’ve been patiently waiting but it’s never come up,” Mr Noble said.
“I called Business Victoria and they said they can’t find anything on it.”
He was referred to the Premier’s office, which he contacted but was told to speak to Business Victoria.
Melbourne State MP Ellen Sandell said the state government “seems to have announced grants for flood-affected businesses but then never actually delivered them”.
“This is a real slap in the face to businesses in my electorate who lost so much in the Maribyrnong floods and have had to wait months for any help, if they get it at all,” she said.
A government spokesperson said the grant program for medium and large businesses started operating on January 31 and was still open, adding they were currently evaluating the eligibility of a dozen businesses that have been identified as requiring extra support.
“We will continue to provide assistance to affected businesses and support their recovery so they can return to trade as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said.
Business owners who require further flood assistance are encouraged to call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or get in touch with their nearest Regional Development Victoria business office. •
Caption: West Melbourne business Richard Noble with his damaged computer stock. Picture: Ajay Viswanath.