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    Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Sunil Bhalla.

Emotional and financial support for business owners | COVID-19

Horsham business owners needing help to apply for government support can turn to Horsham Rural City Council’s economic development team.

Many coronavirus-affected businesses can access up to $10,000 from the State Government along with Federal Government JobKeeper payments.

Council chief executive Sunil Bhalla said a  business support team had already helped several Horsham businesses in understanding the government-support packages.

“There are businesses in our municipality who have the resources to apply for these grants. But we know there are some who need help with the paperwork,” he said.

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“There are also local operators who are not aware that they actually qualify for assistance and we have been helping people to understand the eligibility criteria.”

Mr Bhalla said the council was sending a support newsletter to more than 1200 businesses and had so far contacted more than 150 directly by phone.

“Our team wants to help make sure Wimmera businesses highly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions can benefit from these grants as soon as possible,” he said.

“It’s our goal to make certain no local business misses out.”

While the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses is devastating, circumstances are also taking a toll people’s mental health. 

Patrick White from Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria’s Horsham branch said his organisation was available to help all businesses under stress.

“The impacts of the coronavirus are hurting many in the community, including businesses,” he said.

“It’s important that business operators and employees get the right financial and emotional support. The general uncertainty about how the coronavirus situation might affect you and your business in the weeks and months ahead can have a huge impact financially, mentally, emotionally and physically, which is why taking care of yourself now is so important.” 

Mr White also encouraged business owners overwhelmed by paperwork to seek help when applying for grants.

“Grants from the Victorian Government’s Business Support Fund can be used towards business costs such as rent, utilities and salaries, and activities to support business continuity planning, such as seeking financial and or legal advice,” he said.

“It might take 20 to 30 minutes to craft an application. If you are successful in a $10,000 grant, that is a pretty handy hourly return.”

People can call Rural Financial Counselling Service on 5381 1646. The Horsham council’s business support team is available by email at or by calling 0428 357 220.

The entire April 29, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire April 29, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!