Small business key to long-term flood recovery, report finds

SMALL business has been found to be the key to long-term recovery from natural disasters in a new report that carries a warning for the flood-hit centres such as Maryborough and Burrum Heads.

The From Disaster to Renewal report, issued by the Regional Australia Institute, measured recovery in disaster-hit regions such as Cardwell and Emerald in the years after floods, bushfires and a cyclone.

It showed diversification among small businesses was the key to both an economic and emotional recovery in regional towns.

Maryborough Chamber of Commerce president Craig Winter does not believe the city has enough diversification for a strong recovery.

He echoed the report findings and said businesses had to use drastic events such as the floods as an opportunity to diversify and change.

"That's one of the things I am pushing for," he said.

"Business in Maryborough is a bit insular, it relies on Maryborough for everything.

"There's no new money coming in at the moment."

Mr Winter said he was in the first stages of forming a partnership with Maryborough trades businesses that could then put in tenders for major construction projects just outside of the Fraser Coast.

He said each participating business was too small to enter a tender on their own, but was able to present a strong case through the partnership.

Mr Winter said the partnership was a good example of what Maryborough businesses needed to do to tackle long-term recovery from both the floods and a lagging economy.

RAI report findings

  • Narrow economic bases with high levels of income inequality are correlated to poor individual and community recovery
  • The resilience of a community, and its corresponding ability to rebound from disasters, is underpinned by its economic base
  • Community recovery will not occur without business recovery
  • The case studies have shown that business recovery is, to a large extent, overlooked compared to other recovery streams
  • The lack of funding for small business recovery reflects a lack of appreciation of the critical interdependencies between business recovery and community recovery, particularly in rural settings

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