The state’s peak business organization, the NSW Business Chamber, says the swift action of the State and Federal Governments to reclassify the storm damage in Northern NSW as a ‘Category C’ event will be greatly appreciated by business owners doing it tough.
A Category C classification allows for more immediate access to loans and grants for business owners to allow them to re-open their doors.
“Having toured the region myself earlier this week, I know what a desperate situation many of the businesses are in,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright.
“These people are not after hand out at all, all they needed was a helping hand to get their business back online and enable them to pay their staff and meet their other financial obligations,” Mr Cartwright said.
“I also met with both the Murwillumbah and Lismore Chambers of Commerce who told me their plans to get their towns back on their feet – but the Category C announcement will expedite that process.
“The State Government called on the assistance of the Chamber network to get business owners to fill in surveys detailing the damage to their premises – information used to push the case for a change in classification.
“The Deputy Premier, himself a former small business owner, toured the area on Tuesday and clearly understood the dire circumstances. He and his Government should be congratulated for their swift response and for forwarding the required paperwork immediately to the Acting Prime Minister who responded just as quickly in upgrading the classification which allows for the funding to become available.
“It’s perhaps easy at times to sit back and criticize a Government for lack of action – but on this occasion the NSW and Federal Governments worked incredibly quickly, and with the best interests of the impacted areas at heart.
“Of course many of the business owners are still awaiting decisions from their insurance companies as to the extent of their coverage as a result of this storm event.
“The NSW Business Chamber will continue to hold these insurance companies to account and those who are dragging the chain will be named,” Mr Cartwright said.