Piles of ruined goods and rubbish fill back streets of Lismore's CBD.
Piles of ruined goods and rubbish fill back streets of Lismore's CBD. Claudia Jambor

Flood group promise more action, less talk

FOLLOWING the March flood, Lismore City Council has established a Lismore Business Flood Recovery Taskforce to ensure continued support for businesses.

The taskforce is designed to help businesses open their doors and restart trading as well as bring shoppers and visitors back to the CBD. A central focus of the taskforce will also be ensuring that businesses are better prepared for any future flood.

Taskforce membership includes: NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs (Chairperson), Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Deborah Benhayon, Lismore Business Panel Chairperson and local business owner Kaylene Hopf, Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers CEO Alex Smith, Jane Laverty from the NSW Business Chamber, Lismore MP Thomas George, Page MP Kevin Hogan; Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith, and Ben Roche from Southern Cross University.

Lismore City Council Executive Director Sustainable Development Brent McAlister said the taskforce was committed to doing, not just talking, and they wanted to look at immediate and clear goals that could assist local businesses.

"The Taskforce is action focused and is dedicated to supporting business. It isn't designed to duplicate business recovery coordination already set up between the council staff and Chamber representatives," he said.

"Council has also established a small Business Recovery Unit in the old Lismore Regional Gallery building in the CBD. This unit is dedicated to supporting business and has developed a long-term marketing campaign that is currently before the NSW Government seeking significant funding."

The scope of the Lismore Business Flood Recovery Taskforce includes three main areas: advocacy, business support and business resilience. The council has commissioned a report on the impact of the March flood event on businesses in the CBD and the outlook for the city's economic prospects in the immediate and short-term future, aimed at informing the Taskforce.

The post-flood report will include the results of complementary surveys initiated by the council and the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Survey findings and other comprehensive research will assist with recommendations on immediate actions the Taskforce should take to improve business prospects in Lismore and support businesses trying to recover from the aftermath of the natural disaster.

The Lismore Business Flood Recovery Taskforce will be presented with the post-flood report and recommendations at its first meeting on Tuesday, June 27.



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