Businesses have been urged to support the national network of chambers of commerce and industry, which has vowed to help flood-stricken small firms.
The board of the NSW Business Chamber has approved assistance worth $200,000, which will provide grants of $4000 to 25 small businesses in Queensland and 25 in NSW for cleaning up and repairs.
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According to NSW Business Chamber spokesman Chris Black, only businesses with fewer than 15 employees and turnover under $2 million are eligible. The assistance will be given to companies without insurance or those not eligible for government disaster assistance.
The Queensland chamber, which will administer $100,000 provided by the NSW chamber, has already launched a flood relief fund to support affected businesses, particularly SMEs.
The chamber estimates that while most businesses will be insured for damage to physical assets, only 50% of businesses possess insurance policies covering lost income.
According to CCIQ president David Goodwin, this suggests that income loss will be the major issue for businesses affected by the floods, and has called for greater government assistance.
CCIQ chief executive Nick Wallis says the business community also needs to show its support.
“Some business owners have lost absolutely everything… As the backbone of the community and the employer of Queenslanders, the impact of considerable losses for affected businesses will be significant,” Wallis says.
“CCIQ is calling on all businesses who have escaped these floods without damage to get behind those businesses that have not been so lucky and help them get back on their feet.”
The Queensland chamber is also providing a business recovery checklist to affected businesses, which covers damage assessment, insurance coverage, government assistance, human resources, financial status and planning for reopening.
The chamber says it is experiencing strong demand for advisory services from Queensland employers in relation to employment rights and obligations facing businesses that have ceased to operate due to floods.
Meanwhile, a group of Brisbane volunteers has launched a free web-listing site titled FloodDiscounts.com.au, which amalgamates all discounts available for flooded residents and businesses.
Businesses can pledge and post discounts on a wide range of products and services needed to help flood victims rebuild their homes and workplaces.
The discounts are listed for flood victims who produce proof that their home or business was damaged by the floods.
The website asks that discounts be listed for at least three months, with options for validity of up to six months. To list discounts, visit www.flooddiscounts.com.au.