Regional business bushfire recovery portal now open

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has released a bushfire relief information portal which provides details on state and federal government measures to support affected businesses with financial assistance, practical support and information.

The bushfireinfo.business portal is accessible to members of industry associations across Australia, including the Print and Visual Communications Association (PVCA).

PVCA chief executive officer Andrew Macaulay is encouraging members to regularly review the portal as it is continually updated with links about how to apply for financial grants, solve communications problems, seek financial and tax advice and deal with insurance claims.

“We were all individually coordinating with the Prime Minister’s office and (small business minister) Michaelia Cash and the state governments to find information about relief services, funding, counselling services to small business owners and anybody in our membership family who was affected,” Macaulay told Sprinter.

“ACCI stepped up and said rather than you all doing it, why don’t we do it together which was terrific.”

Macaulay said whilst there is a currently large focus on families, farmers, livestock and wildlife, there are also serious knock on effects for small business, which are also employers of local people, when an economy is knocked out through disaster.

“You don’t have to be burnt out, if your business is supporting a community, if you are embedded in the rugby club, the surf lifesaving club, the butchers shop, the bottle shop and that’s the type of printing you do and all of a sudden none of those things are operating, well you stop as well,” Macaulay said.

Industrial relations support is also something many members are needing at the moment, Macualay said, as they face the realities of staff members needing to fight fires for the Rural Fire Service or protect their homes and family in affected areas.

“We also have members who had industrial relations questions who are supporting their staff going off in the Rural Fire Service but then they were also wanting to understand what their obligations were and how that is effecting their business,” he said, urging any members with questions to please get in touch.

“We’ve been fielding a lot of calls on that front in the last week.”

Small business bushfire relief grants

Macaulay also advised members to not waste time in applying for financial support.

Small Business Minister Michaelia Cash, representatives of the Prime Ministers’ office and the Australian Chamber of Commerce are meeting at a round table in Canberra on Tuesday to plan financial relief for affected businesses.

It is expected further support grants will flow from these meetings.

Macaulay urged printers to not waste time in applying for grants, as the funding is there to help those that have been affected.

“If you apply this week it will be a much smoother process than if the application is left until after the dust settles,” Macaulay said.

“The funding is there to help businesses through difficult times, cover costs of staff going off to fight fires.

“Depending on their circumstances there is all sorts of funding and support services available. It won’t be the same for everyone but it is worth looking into.”

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