Businesses devastated by the complete shutdown of the timber industry hoping to get a slice of millions of dollars in the State Government funding can make their bid for up to $400,000 from this week. Applications for the Small Business Development and Diversification program open on Friday, aimed at companies that rely on native logging but are not directly contracted by the Forest Products Commission. It comes after Premier Mark McGowan announced a ban on the timber industry from 2024 last year, with more than $80 million committed for impacted businesses, workers and organisations since through the Native Forestry Transition Plan. Among the different grant pillars was the $15 million SMDD, which allows eligible companies to claim up to $400,000 to help them remain open and diversify or expand into new business streams. Dozens of South West businesses are expected to put their hand up for the funding, with the region the most impacted by the logging ban. Mr Kelly said support for small businesses was one of the best ways to ensure the South West continued to grow and prosper. “I encourage all eligible South-West small businesses to apply for a grant,” he said. “Not only are we helping small businesses linked to the native forest industry stay open, we are supporting them to diversify, expand and innovate.” Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie said the grants would support the business community and ensure the economy remained robust. “This is an opportunity for small business to expand, re-invigorate and thrive, while helping to create more jobs in our region,” she said. Other funding rounds in the State Government’s $80 million NFTP include a $26.9 million Business Transition Program for directly impacted companies in the timber industry, $2 million to attract new industries and $100,000 in small grants for projects that would stimulate regional economies. The native logging ban is expected to save more than 400,000ha of native forests, but see about 500 jobs lost. Businesses can apply for the SMDD on the State Government website from Friday until January 31.