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Regional Small Business Support Program

Regional Small Business Support Program (Pilot)

The Regional Small Business Support Program Pilot (the Pilot) concluded on 30 June 2023.

Since January 2020, $27.8 million has been invested into the Pilot, to support small regional businesses to build their resilience in times of drought in Modified Monash Model 2 to 7 areas. The Pilot was expanded to include areas affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, COVID-19 and flooding events in 2022 and 2023.

The Government has provided $2.2 million to continue this support from 1 January to 31 March 2023, with approved service providers able to use any underspends to support small businesses until 30 June 2023.


This free and independent service supports small, regional businesses in Modified Monash Model 2 to 7 regions to remain resilient while facing a downturn and maintain the capacity to rebound when normal trading conditions resume.

Regional small business financial counsellors are located in twelve Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) regions across Australia, with a focus on the case management approach, assist clients to:

  • understand their financial position

  • understand the benefits and drawbacks of different options to manage financial issues

  • develop budgets and cash flows

  • negotiate with creditors

  • access dispute resolution services

  • understand their rights and access broader professional advice and support

  • access government and community grants, programs or schemes.

Regional Small Business Financial Counsellors do not give family, emotional or social counselling or financial advice. They refer clients to other professional services, including accountants, legal services and mental health services.


To be eligible to receive counselling, a small business must:

  • employ 19 or fewer people

  • be, in the opinion of the financial counsellor, experiencing, or at imminent risk of, financial hardship as a result of drought, COVID‑19, the 2019-20 bushfires or the flooding events in 2022 and 2023.
  • be located in a regional area (defined as ‘MMM2’ to ‘MMM7’ on the Department of Health’s Modified Monash rurality classification).

  • be ineligible to access services under the existing RFCS Program.

To search for eligible areas visit

More information 

Further program details are available in the program guidelines.

Any general questions or comments about the National Emergency Management Agency can be submitted via our ‘contact us’ page.