The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia notes with great sadness the devastating floods that continue to sweep away livelihoods across Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales. The peak body representing small business is urging state governments to make support available as soon as possible.
COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said “Many small businesses are already weighed down by deferred debt from the impacts of recent disasters. They need financial assistance now.
“We commend the Federal Government for making the disaster payment for individuals in affected LGAs available so quickly. There are small business owners who will be eligible for that payment, and every cent of support counts.
“We also commend yesterday’s announcement by the Federal and NSW Governments confirming that grants of up to $50,000 will be available for affected small businesses in NSW. Though business owners can’t apply yet, they can register through Services NSW to be notified when the assistance becomes available, an important step in providing a sense of relief and certainty.
“We urge the Queensland Government to confirm what support will be available for affected small businesses as soon as possible.”
Ms Boyd continued “Though government responses to natural disasters have improved since the 2019-2020 bushfire season, there is much work to be done to improve the preparedness and resilience of small businesses in disaster prone areas.
“COSBOA notes that 97% of government money is spent after disasters and just 3% is spent in getting communities prepared. This figure needs to change.
“The Small Business Ombudsman (ASBFEO)’s inquiry into preparedness and resilience is vital and we look forward to seeing the findings.”
Ms Boyd added “The other area of disaster assistance in need of review is Australia’s insurance market. Premiums are already unaffordable for many small businesses and the situation is only getting worse as climate change makes extreme weather events more common. Alternatives to the current insurance market should be explored as a matter of urgency in 2022, one example being discretionary mutual funds (DMFs).”
Ms Boyd concluded “Our thoughts remain with the flood affected communities in Southeast Queensland and Northern NSW, as well those that are expected to be impacted over the weekend. It’s a very tough time to be a small business owner, but COSBOA is on your side and will continue advocating for policy reforms that give small businesses the best chance to recover, grow, and thrive.”
Links to support
Federal Government's Disaster Payment:
Register with Services NSW to be notified when support is available: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/storm-and-flood-assistance-businesses/storm-and-flood-disaster-recovery-small-business
Continue checking the QLD Rural and Industry Development Authority website for updates to small business support: https://www.qrida.qld.gov.au/business