January 23, 2020

Business community working to rebuild fire-ravaged communities

In the news

From Inside Small Business

The business community is waiving debts and speeding uppayments to bushfire affected small and family-owned businesses to assist themwith immediate cashflow and help communities get back on their feet.

The Council is also encouraging larger businesses to holdcorporate events, such as training days and conferences, in fire-affected areasto stimulate local economic activity.

“We are urging all businesses to follow the lead of manyAustralian companies who are waiving debts and payments to small businesses andothers, and speeding up the payment of invoices,” Business Council of AustraliaPresident, Tim Reed, said. “It is important that our communities can reboundand come back strongly from the terrible bushfires so locals are able tocontinue living and working in their home towns.”

Reed noted that the rebuilding efforts will take time andbusiness is in this for the long haul, providing significant cash and in-kindassistance.

“One of the steps we have taken is to set up the CommunityRebuilding Initiative, headed by Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC(RETD). This is specifically designed to help local economies recover andrebuild communities. The initiative, supported by business, will play a keypart in the recovery efforts as bushfire impacted communities move into therebuilding phase,” Reed said

“Businesses, particularly family-owned and local ones, are thelifeblood of local communities. Keeping these businesses strong and keepingthem in affected regions is crucial to ensure communities can thrive.”

One of the first steps of the Community Rebuilding Initiativewill be to match people, who have lost their job due to the bushfires, withwork from companies that can assist. It will also match rebuilding needs forbusiness and communities with in-kind and cash support from business, providingtools for people so they can get back to work and ensuring people in localcommunities have access to rebuilding work.

Reed noted that the efforts from the business community gohand-in-hand with the Morrison government’s continued support for smallbusiness.

“With the immediate crisis passing, focus must now shift togetting local economies back on track, so they can keep providing jobs andlivelihoods,” Reed said. “Business Council members have made generouscharitable donations of more than $33 million to assist with immediate reliefefforts but under their charters charities cannot give directly to impactedbusinesses.”

The Community Rebuilding Initiative is designed to get localeconomies and their communities thriving again by co-ordinating the businessresponse to the bushfires.

The initiative’s initial focus will be getting people accessto work and getting businesses back on their feet by identifying immediateneeds on the ground. Over the next five years, the initiative will work withthe National Bushfire Recovery Agency to focus on rebuilding businesses and thecommunity facilities that are vital to economic recovery.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with affected regions as theyface this challenge and we know that strong businesses build strongcommunities,” Reed said. “The Community Rebuilding Initiative will complementthe work businesses are already doing to give communities the hand up they needto get back on track. Australian businesses, just like all Australians, arerallying behind communities.”

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