10 February 2022



Ombudsman to host feedback sessions in natural disaster-hit areas

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Bruce Billson is set to visit natural disaster-hit areas across the country seeking vital on-the-ground feedback from impacted small businesses.

Throughout the sessions, the Ombudsman will gather insights from small business operators all the way from Northern Queensland to Kangaroo Island and Tasmania, to help inform the Small Business Natural Disaster Preparedness and Resilience Inquiry.

Mr Billson says small businesses are encouraged to take part in the ASBFEO-hosted feedback sessions, which kick off in Townsville and Rockhampton on Monday (14 February 2022).

“We want to hear from small and family business owners who have lived experience of a natural disaster and have ideas about how best the government can support them to prepare and remain resilient in the case of an unavoidable event,” Mr Billson says.

“What we learn from small businesses on this tour, will help inform our recommendations to improve education and engagement programs to best target and assist small businesses in preparing for natural disasters such as fires, floods and drought.

“We know the impacts of natural disasters on small businesses can be devastating. It can mean damaged and destroyed assets, reduced production and revenue streams, and sadly, a business-ending event in some cases that can have devastating personal impacts.

“Recovery can be lengthy - taking a heavy toll on small business owners, their staff and the broader community, but can be greatly assisted by good preparedness.

“The cost of natural disasters and the time it takes for small businesses to get back on their feet could be reduced by being better prepared, taking sensible risk and impact mitigation action and bolstering resilience.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be visiting more than 20 areas across six states and territories that have been impacted by fires, floods and cyclones. I encourage small and family business owners to take part in this important discussion.”

Small business operators who are unable to make a feedback session can contribute their insights here.