The business community is waiving debts and speeding up payments to bushfire affected small and family-owned businesses to assist them with immediate cash flow and help communities get back on their feet, Business Council of Australia President Tim Reed said today.
“We are also encouraging larger businesses to hold corporate events, such as training days and conferences, in fire affected areas to stimulate local economic activity.
“We are urging all businesses to follow the lead of many Australian companies who are waiving debts and payments to small businesses and others, and speeding up the payment of invoices.
“It is important that our communities can rebound and come back strongly from the terrible bushfires so locals are able to continue living and working in their home towns.
“The rebuilding efforts will take time and business is in this for the long haul, providing significant cash and in-kind assistance.
“One of the steps we have taken is to set up the Community Rebuilding Initiative, headed by Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (RETD). This is specifically designed to help local economies recover and rebuild communities.
“The initiative, supported by business, will play a key part in the recovery efforts as bushfire impacted communities move into the rebuilding phase.
“Businesses, particularly family owned and local ones, are the lifeblood of local communities. Keeping these businesses strong and keeping them in affected regions is crucial to ensure communities can thrive.
“One of the first steps of the Community Rebuilding Initiative will be to match people, who have lost their job due to the bushfires, with work from companies that can assist.
“It will also match rebuilding needs for business and communities with in-kind and cash support from business, providing tools for people so they can get back to work and ensuring people in local communities have access to rebuilding work.
“The efforts from the business community go hand-in-hand with the Morrison government’s continued support for small business.
“With the immediate crisis passing focus must now shift to getting local economies back on track, so they can keep providing jobs and livelihoods.
“Business Council members have made generous charitable donations of more than $33 million to assist with immediate relief efforts but under their charters charities cannot give directly to impacted businesses.
“The Community Rebuilding Initiative is designed to get local economies and their communities thriving again by co-ordinating the business response to the bushfires.
“The initiative’s initial focus will be getting people access to work and getting businesses back on their feet by identifying immediate needs on the ground.
“Over the next five years the initiative will work with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to focus on rebuilding businesses and the community facilities that are vital to economic recovery.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with affected regions as they face this challenge and we know that strong businesses build strong communities.
“The Community Rebuilding Initiative will complement the work businesses are already doing to give communities the hand up they need to get back on track.
“Australian businesses, just like all Australians, are rallying behind communities. With the right support in place today.’’