Realise Business advisor Matt Lye headed north over the past month to help business owners who were negatively impacted by the recent floods in and around Northern NSW across towns like Murwillumbah, Chinderah and Lismore.

The involvement of Realise Business was part of a $1 million business support package designed to help local businesses recover, re-open, and grow.

In announcing the package, NSW Small Business Minister John Barilaro said, “I am pleased to announce a $1 million business support package, to be overseen by the Office of Regional Development, to attract customers back to local shops and stores and let everyone know when they’re open for business.

“I’d like to thank our exceptional team of business advisors who have been on the ground for the past week helping with the recovery and gathering vital information.

“It’s been a coordinated effort by the Office of Small Business Commissioner and Business Connect representatives this past week, talking to those directly impacted by the floods, with assistance from the Lismore Business Chamber.”

Most of the businesses that Matt met with had been heavily impacted by the floods. “Stock was washed away or destroyed, and while some machinery was working again, there were doubts about whether it would last the distance,” Matt said.

As part of the assistance team, Matt met with about 50 businesses, up to 12 a day, to connect them local services and let them know about the government support that was available, including assistance grant and Centrelink assistance for casual employees.

Throughout the time, he was involved in the assistance program, Matt met with businesses from the Business Connect Bus and did a lot of walking from shop to shop in the Lismore retail precinct. He also met with businesses in the light industrial area around Murwillumbah, including printers and tyre manufacturers.

The Small Business Commissioner’s office has been tasked with providing practical support to impacted businesses through:

  • Formal mediation, which can be arranged at a subsidised rate.
  • Assisting small businesses with issues in relation to insurance and regulatory concerns.
  • Connecting small business owners with the right support services.
  • Loans of up to $130,000 (subject to certain eligibility criteria), at a concessional interest rate for primary producers in urgent need.

Matt said that while many businesses were severely impacted by the floods the focus was to get up and running again as soon as possible with most people saying, “Well, it’s happened, let’s just get on with fixing things.”