Our region remains largely impacted by drought, low rainfall and zero water allocations, and this continues to play on business confidence and impacts sale and profit quite severely.

Our September business conditions survey showed small business continues to struggle due to the long decline in regional economies brought on by this phenomenon.

It has been very pleasing to see farmers, small business owners and regional communities in the worst affected areas being included in the federal government’s billion dollar drought assistance package.

In our region, local government areas which will receive funding support include Greater Hume, Lockhart, Berrigan, Edward River, Federation and Murrumbidgee.

The inclusion of up to 100GL of water will assist in fodder production, which may go towards generating some income and money flowing around our struggling communities, but we certainly need continued focus from governments at all levels on continued improvements in water security for the future.

Buy regional this Christmas

I am very keen to promote local businesses across our membership region to participate in a new initiative, Buy Regional, supporting drought affected communities across NSW.

The website was launched last month with the Deputy Premier unveiling BuyRegional.nsw.gov.au, with Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope also promoting and inviting regional businesses to join the website and offer their products or services to all.

Buy Regional gathers regional businesses from drought-hit communities into one website, giving people in metro areas the chance to buy directly from them.

Directing traffic to the website will encourage sales and bring urgently needed funds to these businesses, sustaining them and in turn, their communities as we approach Christmas. 

Hosted on nsw.gov.au, the website lists businesses with an online presence selling products in these categories: food, wine, fashion, kids, homewares and hampers.

The website also includes a list of professionals, such as accountants, solicitors and graphic designers, who are based in drought-affected towns but who can deliver their services remotely.

There will be a coordinated digital, social and cross-government campaign to promote the website to people in metro areas, encouraging them to buy Christmas presents online, offering a simple way to support drought-affected communities, which may go some way towards helping our struggling farmers and local businesses.

Interested businesses can send an email to buyregional@dpc.nsw.gov.au – a short request is all that’s needed. Categories for goods include: food, wine and beer, fashion, kids, art and design (which includes homewares), hampers, experiences, animal gifts and wellbeing.

Best of luck for the festive season and bring on some rain!

Kind regards,

Andrew Cottrill – Regional Manager Murray Riverina, NSW Business Chamber