"Australia. A land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges,
of droughts and flooding rains"
- Dorothea McKellar
As Dorothea McKellar described Australia in her famous poem, 'My Country', we have recently experienced significant devastation in our country. Mother nature remains unpredictable and the recent bushfire crisis, combined with the ongoing drought has impacted people and businesses all over Australia.
There are many ways that you can support local business after the bushfires and drought, but it's also important to understand the full impact that these natural disasters have on local business.
The impact of natural disasters, such as bushfires, drought and flooding can be felt far and wide, with businesses all over Australia feeling the effects.
While those directly affected may experience direct damage to their business and livelihood, power outages, hazardous air quality and damage to local roads and infrastructure, there is often even more at play behind the scenes.
In locations that are normally high-traffic tourist destinations, there are booking cancellations that affect accommodation, restaurants. This has a flow on effect which means that businesses cannot afford to employ and pay staff, and the cycle continues.
And then there is the mental anguish that many experience during a crisis, and for days, months and often years after the event has unfolded.
With the impact felt on communities and businesses, far and wide across our great nation, let's take a look at five ways that you can support other local businesses both near and far.
Buying locally and supporting small businesses in your community is one of the best ways you can help businesses to get back on their feet after bushfires, or through the ongoing devastation of drought. With over 8 million small businesses in Australia, they are the backbone of the Australian economy. When you buy locally, you're supporting not only that business, but the flow on effect that it creates. Those business owners will then spend with other local businesses, cafes, retail stores, accountants, lawyers, and other professionals.
Just as important as buying local, and supporting your local community, is to consider buying from a bush business in another region of Australia. A great way to do this is to join the 200,000 people strong 'Buy from a bush business' Facebook group which showcases businesses from all around Australia. And if you're looking to directly support businesses and towns that have been impacted by the bushfires, then Turia Pitt's 'Spend with them' is a great movement created for this very cause. By visiting the towns directly impacted, and spending with the businesses in those regions, it will help to restore their faith, and assist in their efforts to rebuild their homes, businesses and lives.
When you're next planning a weekend getaway, why not stay in the bush instead of heading to your normal coastal destination. There are so many amazing locations to visit, and often are much closer than you think. Driving 3-4 hours inland or heading on a road trip for your next weekly holiday and visiting multiple towns is the perfect way to see more of our beautiful countryside, and to support towns and businesses in some of Australia's most scenic country locations.
Another great initiative that was born out of the Australian fire devastation is the Empty Esky movement. It encourages Aussies to take the pledge and grab an empty esky, embark on a road trip to a fire-affected town (when it's safe to do so) and to stock up with produce and wares purchased from local traders.
Another great way to support local businesses, without spending money, is to volunteer your time. Rebuilding towns after a natural disaster can take months, if not years, and volunteers will be welcomed with open arms. The best way you can do this is to get in touch with local organisations in your area, so that you can make a direct contribution.
If you're a business owner that has been affected by the bushfires or drought, there are many ways that you can obtain support to help you rebuild, get back on your feet or keep yourself afloat.
There are a range of resources, government grants and business tips to help you get back to business.
It's important to remember that even long after the bushfire devastation, the effects will be felt for some time. Even six to twelve months later, businesses will be working hard to rebuild and get back to their normal level of trade. This also rings true for those impacted by the drought across much of Australia. It takes a significant amount of rainfall to break a drought, and the years of devastation can have a profound impact on not only businesses, but the lives of everyday Australians.
Whether you choose to hit the road with your empty esky, stay in the bush, or simply support the businesses in your local community, every dollar makes a big difference to the businesses and livelihood of Australians.