Natural disaster planning

WORKSHOP: Rural Business Support is holding a workshop in Port Augusta in March. Pictured is RBS business analyst Russell Trainor.

WORKSHOP: Rural Business Support is holding a workshop in Port Augusta in March. Pictured is RBS business analyst Russell Trainor.

A new Rural Business Support (RBS) program aims to ensure small businesses are more proactive about preparing for unforeseen natural disaster events and minimising overall risks to ensure they can recover and continue operating if the worst occurs. In the past decade natural disasters have devastated parts of the state, most recently with fires and hail storms contributing to heavy financial losses for many small business operators in affected areas. The RBS Business Readiness Program gets participants thinking about the vulnerable areas of their business against a range of risk scenarios, as well as actions that can be taken to reduce or avoid the impact of each possible threat.

RBS chief executive officer Brett Smith said the organisation had worked extensively with small rural businesses through its Rural Financial Counselling Service, but this new project would assist other regional businesses as well, beyond those with an agricultural focus.

“The need to prepare properties ahead of the fire danger season is well publicised, however there is little focus on helping business owners to understand the potential impacts a natural disaster can have on their own operations and the wider community,” Mr Smith said. “Events including fires, floods and even short-term power outages can all result in business closures, reduced hours for employees and, in some cases, an extensive and costly period of recovery.”

Mr Smith said a key part of the Business Readiness workshops was a new risk planning tool which would equip business owners with a Business Readiness Plan that could be saved, shared and updated. The Business Readiness Program is funded under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program by the South Australian government and the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs.

Upper North small business owners can register for the workshops. March 20, 10am, Port Augusta Business Centre, 2a Stirling Rd, Port Augusta. To register and find out more please visit www.ruralbusinesssupport.org.au email brp@ruralbusinesssupport.org.au or call 8364 2577.