The state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says the long term survival of many small businesses devastated by the bushfire crisis is reliant on local knowledge and tailored advice.
“That’s why the Chamber is calling on the Federal and NSW Governments, and the official charities, to direct some of its already committed funding toward the provision of vouchers so that small businesses can get financial advice from their local accountant on the best way to recover and rebuild,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright.
“While business owners and their employees are grateful for everything the Governments have been able to provide to date, what they desperately need is tailored advice from local advisors that are already familiar with their circumstances, and not a generic anonymous call centre,” Mr Cartwright said.
“Recent estimates suggest around 26,000 businesses in NSW have suffered direct or indirect impacts from the bushfires, and providing them with a voucher to spend with their existing financial adviser or accountant will not only keep the money in their community, but ensure a localised recovery.
“These business owners have been through incredible trauma and right now they need to be dealing with familiar and trusted faces, and not getting advice on the future of their business from someone hundreds of kilometres away with no feel for the business or their local community.
“There are multiple advantages about using local knowledge to help these businesses get back on their feet as quickly as possible, but the primary reason is that the local advisors know what is possible for each of the businesses and they can advise accordingly, with a full understanding of the business owner’s circumstances, as well as the local economy, demography and consumer sentiment.
“A $500 voucher for each of the impacted businesses to spend with their existing financial adviser on their recovery plan would provide enormous relief to these business owners who don’t know where to start rebuilding their business and continuing to employ members of their community. The local financial advisers can also assist the small business owners to access the right information to apply for any loans or grants that might be available to them.
“There’s been a lot of talk about using local trade workers in the rebuilding of towns, and this is a move that the NSW Business Chamber totally supports, but it is just as important that the small businesses which support these local economies can have speedy access to their local professional services providers so that they can develop their own tailored recovery plan,” Mr Cartwright said.