Published on Jul 27, 2015

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A potential $39 million damage bill is just one of the key findings of Cessnock City Council’s natural disaster report released today.

More than one thousand businesses were surveyed in the wake of April’s natural disaster representing a significant sample of 38% of all businesses across the Cessnock LGA.  A whopping 76% of respondents reported their business had been impacted by the storm.

668 businesses estimated a combined loss of 2,533 trade days, and more than 600 businesses recorded aggregated damage and revenue losses of $5.9 million and $9 million respectively.

Cessnock City Council General Manager Stephen Glen said the report offered valuable insight into the economic effects of a natural disaster and was pleased the Department of Industry would run workshops for businesses to address risk areas highlighted in the report.

“The report provides critical information to help all levels of government develop support programs for businesses,” Mr Glen said.

“For example, it’s significant to note only 34% of businesses surveyed believed they had adequate insurance to cover repairs and revenue loss.

“There will be insurance experts at the Department of Industry’s upcoming workshops – great news because businesses need access to information to help plan for and mitigate risks to ensure they are able to resume trade at a rapid pace.”

Report findings highlighted the toll a natural disaster can take in just a few days, not just in terms of revenue loss but also the emotional cost on business owners and their employees.

47% of respondents reported staff impacts including reduced hours, forced leave, or stand-downs indicating the knock-on social impact of the natural disaster could be wide-reaching.

Mr Glen said he supported the recommendations in the report for additional studies to establish the full impact the natural disaster had on the LGA.

“The survey provides a snapshot of the effect on our businesses in the immediate aftermath of the disaster,” Mr Glen said.

“However, we also need to understand the long-term economic effect, along with the social impacts that go hand in hand with the stress of trying to rebuild following a disaster.”

About the workshops
The recent storms in the Hunter are an example of an external disruption event that can turn into a business disaster.  Preparing your business for the worst increases the operational readiness towards risks and provides you with tested and efficient mitigation strategies.

Know, do and manage your business continuity plan by attending a free workshop:

  • Wednesday 29 July, 5.30-8.30pm – Toronto Workers Club, register here
  • Wednesday 5 August, 5.30-8.30pm – East Maitland Bowling Club, register here

Visit the Department of Industry for more information about the workshops.  Read the Cessnock City Business Flood Impact Study.  Contact the Economic Development Unit by email economic.development@cessnock.nsw.gov.au or phone 02 4993 4257 for more information.