Additional funding announced by the Albanese government today to fast track nearly $1.8 billion in disaster payments to impacted councils is critical for local recovery, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“It is easy to forget that many communities are still facing enormous recovery operations, often extending for months and years after the immediate disaster has passed.
“Fast-tracked assistance is a lifeline for small businesses to ensure they can get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
“There’s still a lot of work to do and local governments are bearing a significant brunt of the costs to rebuild communities. The scale of the recovery effort is enormous so these payments will go a long way.
“BizRebuild, a business-led initiative developed by the Business Council of Australia, was on the ground in the regional Victorian community of Rochester yesterday, meeting with local business owners and community leaders who were impacted by unprecedented floods in October last year.
"It's uplifting to see people who have been through a terrible experience and yet here they are, not only back in operation or getting close to, but they are praising the others who have been part of the experience, BizRebuild patron Sir Peter Cosgrove said.
“Since the bushfires in 2020, BizRebuild has donated around $10 million to small businesses and communities impacted by natural disasters right across Australia.
“Whether it’s providing vouchers to small businesses, or helping to re-build important community infrastructure projects, BizRebuild will always stand by communities impacted by natural disasters.
“Through our experience in delivering support to local communities, we have heard firsthand how cash flow for small businesses is an immediate problem. This is precisely why the BCA has strongly advocated for more certainty around immediate cashflow for small businesses following a natural disaster.
“Small businesses are the glue that holds local communities together. Businesses like the local pharmacy in Rochester, which was able to use a BizRebuild voucher to quickly purchase a new medicine fridge, enabling them to provide life-saving medication for the community in just days following the October floods.
“We congratulate the Albanese government for their commitment to support communities impacted by these national disasters. But timing of assistance is critical and we continue to encourage National Cabinet to develop a nationally consistent assistance package that would immediately come into effect following a natural disaster.
“This will ensure businesses and communities are aware of the urgent relief available – and can access it quickly.”