The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has expanded the reach of it My Business Health portal to provide practical advice and tips to support small business owners impacted by the bushfires.
The portal was designed to provide holistic support to small business owners, and ASBFEO Kate Carnell hopes the site will assist in taking some pressure off businesses impacted by the bushfires by providing practical tools to help them start anew.
“Small businesses in bushfire-hit areas are under enormous pressure and the difficult reality is that many will be in survival-mode for months to come,” Carnell says.
“My Business Health offers simple and practical information to small business owners to help them get back on their feet. This includes the latest information on grants and loans being administered by state and territory governments and assistance with employer responsibilities, finances, insurance claims and tax.”
Carnell points out many small business owners will not only be feeling the impact of a loss of property but their mental health and wellbeing will be affected too.
“While some of these small and family business owners will be consumed with the recovery of their business – they may not be aware of the psychological distress they have experienced.
“My Business Health was developed in consultation with leading mental health organisations including Beyond Blue and EveryMind. Our web portal now features links to Beyond Blue resources that deal with bushfire-related trauma specifically.”
Carnell says mental health is a serious issue for Australia’s small business community.
“The Productivity Commission found the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism to the sector is over $17 billion per year.
“That figure is likely to be amplified in the wake of this bushfire season, so it’s really important that small business owners prioritise their wellbeing. Visiting My Business Health is an excellent starting point.”