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More funds flagged for bushfire-hit areas

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

More local councils are expected to get $1 million federal government grants as the scale of bushfire damage comes to light.

More local councils are expected to get $1 million federal government grants as the scale of bushfire damage comes to light.

Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud and the head of the newly-established bushfire recovery agency, Andrew Colvin have already given 33 councils a hand.

Mr Littleproud wants more councils to receive cash injections so they can drive the recovery effort.

"This is about helping the community rebuild as a community, coming together and empowering our local council to understand and know how to do that best," he told reporters in the Adelaide Hills today.

Mr Littleproud said the area's local council of Mount Barker had a "real case" for extra funding.

He has also telegraphed further funding announcements for South Australia, hinting at a deal between the federal and state governments.

PM facing growing calls to act in wake of bushfire disaster

It comes as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he's unsure if the government will deliver a budget surplus, as the nation counts the cost of the bushfire crisis.

The Morrison government has flagged it is prepared to sacrifice the much-hyped surplus as it responds to the deadly fires ravaging swathes of eastern Australia.

There's a $2 billion federal relief kitty on the table, with $500 million expected to be spent this financial year.

Asked whether the government would deliver a surplus, Mr Frydenberg has said: "I'm not in a position to give a firm answer to that question because the full economic impact is still uncertain.

"The government's latest bushfire relief is targeted at small businesses through grants and low-cost loans to stimulate cashflow.

"When you are responsible economic managers, you have the financial flexibility to respond to crises and economic shocks whenever they may occur," Mr Frydenberg said.

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"This is a time when the Australian people know that their government is there to spend on the things that they need most."

The Business Council of Australia backed the government forgoing the surplus, with president Tim Reed pointing to "extraordinary circumstances".

"While we would love to see the budget in surplus, we would not like to see it in surplus at the expense of these local communities," he said.

Under the relief package, businesses with major damage or a significant dip in revenue because of the fires can access up to $50,000 in tax-free funding.

Low-interest 10-year loans of up to $500,000 will be offered for businesses to restore or replace damaged assets.

The total cost of the measures is unclear with the full extent of the devastating fires' damage still unknown.

Source: 9News

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