Emergency response

Australia’s summer of bushfires have left a trail of destruction, including the wholesale economic devastation of entire communities.

With some local economies facing ruin, the business community through two Business Council initiatives is determined to help bushfire affected communities get back on their feet, rebuild and come back stronger than before.

The Business Council has established BizRebuild, a five-year recovery and rebuilding fund run by business. It is a charitable trust and will have Deductible Gift Recipient status.

BizRebuild will run for five years, working closely with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to co-ordinate support from the business community.The BizRebuild team has already begun work in bushfire affected areas.

Work is focused on three priorities – rebuilding businesses and jobs, rebuilding communities and rebuilding industries.

Getting businesses operating again and local economies firing at the same time we rebuild world class community and sporting facilities is the best way of revitalising local communities and getting them back on track 

BizRebuild is focussed on rebuilding businesses and jobs by:

  • placing workers in jobs as soon as possible
  • matching job seekers with larger businesses that are offering work
  • re-equipping workers and small businesses with tools, laptops, and office equipment so they can get back to work
  • ensuring locals have access to rebuilding work in their communities
  • setting up a ‘flying squad’ of experienced case managers who can triage business needs to work out:
    • the next steps,
    • draw up business cases,
    • put businesses in touch with local accountants and lawyers, and in some cases, financial assistance to help with this,
    • help them fill in forms for government assistance, and
    • help them navigate red tape and other regulations.
  • Encouraging larger businesses and the broader community to buy fresh produce, goods and services from fire affected small businesses
  • Tapping into the expertise of larger businesses for help with marketing, mentoring, support and branding.
  • Asking larger businesses to hold offsite meetings and conferences in bushfire affected areas as the first wave of getting tourists back
  • Having larger businesses commit to paying their bills and invoices ahead of time to help small businesses with cashflow
  • Having larger businesses commit to waiving debts owed by small businesses.

An advisory committee, led by Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (Retd), will oversee the initiative. Sir Peter will be joined by John Anderson AO, Rebecca Frizelle, Danny Gilbert AM, Richard Goyder AO, Katie Page, Tim Reed, Tony Shepherd AO, Yvonne von Hartel AM, Jennifer Westacott AO and Australian emergency services volunteer organisations.

In addition, this initiative will have a fund for cash contributions. These funds will be in trust managed by Equity Trustees.

For enquiries please contact us by email.

In partnership with Equity Trustees the Business Council has founded the Australian Volunteer Support Trust to assist the families of any volunteer in Australia who tragically loses their lives through their volunteer work.

The trust will be a permanent and ongoing fund to support the children of volunteers who have died fighting these fires and future disasters. Primarily, the trust will meet the ongoing educational needs of the children of volunteers who have given their lives. 

The trust will be effective from 1 July 2019 to include the current bushfires and administered by Equity Trustees to respond to the current situation and future emergencies. This initiative will aim to raise an initial sum of $25 million. 

The trust will be overseen by an advisory panel chaired by the Hon Jeff Kennett AC and supported by Jennifer Westacott AO, David Gonski AC, Dame Quentin Bryce, Lisa Paul AO, PSM, representatives from the Australian emergency service volunteer organisations and other prominent Australians.

For inquiries please contact us by email

Businesses or individuals who would like to make a financial contribution to these initiatives can do so via the Equity Trustees website: www.eqt.com.au/DisasterResponse

The trusts will be audited and report their activities regularly to the market.

More detail is avaliable online here.

Business Council members have made cash donations of more than $33 million to bushfire related charities and are committing millions more in in-kind support for affected communities. 

See here for a snapshot of what Business Council members are already doing in their communities.