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Changes to bushfire small business grants

Small businesses devastated in the bushfire crisis will soon get easier access to relief payments and government grants.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded the $50,000 grants and $500,000 low-interest loans were not reaching those in need.

Just five of 104 loan applications have been approved.

"We are repackaging that small business program for bushfire assistance," Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Wednesday.

"It hasn't been getting to the places, and we understand the problem, and (coordinator) Andrew Colvin is working on that and has been working on that for the past week.

"When we're in a position to relaunch that program we will, but we get what the problem is, it is not going the way we hoped it would."

Meanwhile, the bushfire recovery effort has been examined during a Senate estimates hearing.

Labor senators pressed Defence officials about whether the prime minister asked permission before running military imagery in a Liberal Party ad during the bushfire crisis.

"No authorisation was sought, no authorisation was provided by the department," Defence secretary Greg Moriarty told the committee.

Australia's Chief of Defence Angus Campbell conceded he was uncomfortable with the advertisement.

"Whenever the Australian Defence Force or any other apolitical body finds itself between political parties I am discomforted," General Campbell said.

"I don't suggest there was intentionality in that circumstance but the Australian Defence Force in particular needs to, wherever possible, always be nonpartisan both in reality and perception.

"So I am discomforted, but I did not see ill intent in the actions, and I appreciate that this conversation is an example of where the ADF does not want to be."

General Campbell called the prime minister to offer advice about the ad, which is still available online.

Mr Morrison claimed the social media post was not an advertisement.

"The Liberal Party did not post an advertisement," he told parliament.

"I observed the requirements of the Australian Electoral Act that any such videos need a proper authorisation, and that authorisation was provided."

© AAP 2020