Overwhelming response to survey on natural disaster impact on small business

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Bruce Billson is reporting that over 2000 small and family businesses have responded to his office’s online survey on the impact of natural disasters on their businesses.

The survey is part of the Small Business Natural Disaster Preparedness and Resilience Inquiry, in which the Ombudsman is hosting small business feedback sessions in areas impacted by natural disasters across Australia. The insights gathered from the inquiry will inform its outcomes, that will include recommendations to improve information and engagement programs to best target and assist small businesses in preparing for natural disasters.

The ASBFEO said that the online survey is an excellent way for small and family businesses to contribute to the ongoing inquiry.

“We want to hear from as many small and family businesses as possible, to learn more about what steps and support best helped them to proactively contend with and recover from a disaster,” Billson said. “I encourage anyone in a small business who has lived experience of a natural disaster such as bushfires, cyclones or floods and may also have ideas about how best the government can support them to prepare and remain resilient in the case of an unavoidable event, to be part of this important discussion.

“In our feedback sessions so far, we’ve heard time and time again that local engagement, leadership and decision making, informed by local knowledge and community connectedness and engagement is critical,” Billson added. “More often than not, it’s the local business communities who are experienced in disasters that affect their region, that can best guide and support their business peers.

“This local leadership needs to be supported appropriately, so they have access to the resources needed to assist small-business owners who are working to get back on their feet after a natural disaster hits.”

ASBFEO’s online survey remain open until 28 February 2022. Submissions to the Inquiry are also welcome which can be submitted here until 25 February 2022.