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Concern for indirect impact of fires on small businesses

Burnt trees

Unfortunately NSW is still burning. For months fires have ravaged large swathes of the State and left a trail of devastation. Even if we have not experienced the disaster first hand, we have all seen evidence of the blazes with the smoke haze sweeping far and wide.

Back in October staff from the SBC were on the ground visiting bushfire affected communities in Tenterfield and the Richmond Valley. The team dropped in on businesses on main streets and in small communities. They heard stories of incredible personal heroism to keep people and animals safe. They also heard how the fires have compounded an already challenging situation due to the ongoing drought.

At this point we don’t believe a large number of small businesses have been directly affected by the fires across NSW. But the indirect impacts to many small businesses is still unknown and could be significant. The summer holiday season can be the most profitable time of the year for many small businesses located in areas of the State devastated by the fires. The NSW Government (including the NSWSBC) is working hard to provide assistance to them as they need it. We are participating in the State and local fire recovery taskforces and if you or your small businesses want to raise any issues with us please email: [email protected]

We urge you all to spread the word that small businesses in fire affected areas of NSW are still open for business this festive season!

Don’t forget to tell your small businesses about grants of up to $15,000 available to them if they have been directly affected by the fires. For more information please call the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit

And if you are on the Northern Tablelands, North Coast or Mid North Coast let your small businesses know they can apply for up to $15,000 through the Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Recovery Relief Grant to help with clean-up and restoration costs after a fire.

And finally, it’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions after a fire, including anxiety, forgetfulness, sleep disturbance and more. Having someone to listen to and support you through this is very important. Check in on your friends and neighbours, and if you or someone you know needs help, reach out.

The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Mensline – 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800

Beyondblue – 1300 22 4636

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000.

The following free services are available to people impacted by fires and drought. No GP referral is needed.

  • Hunter / New England Healthwise: 1800 931 540
  • Northern NSW - Connect to Wellbeing: 1300 160 339