Small Business Support

On 11 May 2021 the government announced a $3.5 million, 6-month extension to the pilot Drought Communities Small Business Support Program to continue free financial counselling services for small regional businesses affected by drought, bushfire or COVID-19.

Is your small regional business experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship due to the impacts of drought, bushfire or COVID‑19?

We understand this has been a difficult time for small regional businesses that rely on primary production and thriving communities to survive. To help businesses with the challenges they are experiencing and get back on their feet, we are investing more than $16.2 million in small business financial counselling:

This support will run until 31 December 2021, which will help you to:

  • better understand your financial position
  • connect with government programs and assistance schemes
  • identify long-term recovery options
  • implement plans to improve the viability of your business
  • access broader professional advice and support.

Read the program guidelines.


These services are for small businesses that:

  • have 19 employees or less
  • are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship due to the impacts of drought, bushfire or COVID-19
  • are located within a regional area (i.e. not in a metropolitan area)
  • are ineligible to access services under the existing Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) Program.


Small business financial counselling is available through the RFCS in communities across Australia where economic downturn as a result of drought, bushfire orCOVID-19 is having a major impact. The RFCS has successfully delivered financial counselling in regional communities for over 30 years.

A Professional Services Fund is also available to help businesses access specialist third-party advice (determined on a case-by-case basis). This includes financial planning, legal, specialist taxation and accounting advice.

How they can help

Small business financial counsellors can help you to:

  • understand your financial position and the viability of your business
  • identify options to manage the financial issues of your business
  • develop budgets and cash flows
  • create and implement an action plan to work towards your business goals
  • negotiate with your lenders and access dispute resolution services
  • identify other government and community grants, programs or schemes
  • access broader professional advice and support.

Small business financial counsellors do not give family, emotional or social counselling or financial advice. They can refer you to other professional services, including:

  • accountants
  • legal services
  • mental health services.

Find a counsellor

Talk to a small business financial counsellor. It’s a free, confidential service. They can give you individual support and create a tailored recovery plan.

Find your local RFCS office:

Download the financial counselling service map of Australia (PDF, 2 MB).

More support

Read more about support we provide for communities affected by drought, bushfires  and COVID-19.

Last reviewed: 11 May 2021
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