INTEREST-FREE loans of up to half a million dollars are being offered to businesses affected by January's devastating bushfires.
Premier Lara Giddings announced the new Bushfire Recovery Loan Program at Boomer Bay yesterday.
Ms Giddings said about 40 businesses had been destroyed or severely damaged in the bushfires and would be eligible for loans between $50,000 and $500,000 to assist their recovery.
``The loans will help individual businesses recover from such a major blow and will provide a much-needed stimulation to the local economy,'' Ms Giddings said.
Sheep farmer and oyster grower Tom Gray, who lost the ``best part of a million dollars'', said he would look to buy equipment lost in the fires such as tractors and baskets.
``It's absolutely the hand up we needed, not a handout,'' Mr Gray said.
``We had profitable, viable businesses before the fires and we just need a little bit of a kick-start to get us going again.''
Lyons Labor MHA Rebecca White said the loans would be available to businesses that suffered ``direct damage to physical assets''.
The program is being funded by the federal and state governments.
Businesses can contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or email ask@ business.tas.gov.au.
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