PRINTERS PULL THROUGH FLOODS, SUPPORT AVAILABLE

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Printers in some of the most affected regions in NSW during the recent floods, for the most part, have stood strong during this tough time, and have maintained business as usual. But for those that haven't, support is available.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=102116579

Ian Callahan, owner of Graphic Impressions in Byron Bay has seen small leaks around his facility, but no major damages to the building and machines. It's a similar story over at Novak Signs in South Windsor, with company owner Scott Novak saying no major damages were found on the premises, although the company is now running at half strength, with most of the company's staff getting caught out on the other side of the floods.

Snap Print in both Port Macquarie and St Marys is running business as usual too, with only light cases of leaks encountered.

Despite these stories of positivity during this tough time, many others might not have been so lucky. The good news is, there is support for those affected.

Andrew Macaulay, CEO of PVCA said, “We have been taking calls from printers in Western Sydney, the Hunter Valley, and Brisbane. We encourage all members in affected areas to get in touch. We can help with pointing members in the right direction for assistance of all kinds.  

“Certainly all flood-affected printers need to be aware of OH&S requirements for their staff, with slippery floors and the like prevalent,” he said.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared an “insurance catastrophe”, after about 9500 (as of 5pm Monday) claims were lodged to the council’s member companies following extreme rain and flooding across Sydney and broader NSW, with one of the worst affected areas being Port Macquarie.

Speaking to SMH, KPMG partner Scott Guse said the extreme weather event would most likely push premiums up and increase the insurance industry’s lobbying efforts for greater flood mitigation infrastructure, including potentially raising the Warragamba Dam wall.

The industry body has declared a crisis and seeks to fast-track the processing of claims for policyholders affected by the floods in NSW, while Queensland is also under watch to see if a similar declaration is needed for the state.

Some insurers have braced for the possibility the claims would trigger their own reinsurance.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the activation of the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDPR) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) for several NSW local government areas.

Local government areas include: Armidale, Bellingen, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Cumberland, Dungog Shire, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Inner West, Kempsey, Ku-ring-gai, Lake Macquarie, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, Sutherland, Tenterfield, The Hills and Wollondilly.

The DRA provides income support payments to employees, primary producers and sole traders who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the storms and floods. DRA provides fortnightly payments for up to 13 weeks up to the applicable rate of JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance, depending on circumstance. It is available to Australian residents 16 years old and over.

There’s also the joint Australian, state and territory governments’ Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), which provides a range of financial assistance to the natural disaster-declared areas in each state or territory.

As for Queensland, small businesses are encouraged to refer to Business Queensland’s website for resources about what the business should do during a natural disaster. Business Queensland recommends businesses that have been forced to close or reduce operations to call 1300 731 988 for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Employer Assistance Line for support.

The big four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac) have also put their hand up to provide emergency assistance to its business and insurance customers in NSW flood-affected areas as part of a disaster relief package.

As print businesses start to assess damage over the next few days, supplier association Visual Communications also reminds business owners that the industry's suppliers stand ready to offer support.

"As we did during last year's bushfires, and have continued to do during the challegnes of Covid-19, we are committed to ensuring industry businesses have quick and easy access to assistance from their suppliers when faced with natural disasters and other unforseen circumstances," says Peter Harper, CEO of Visual Connections.

"The quickest way for business owners to see what support is available is to go to our website and click on the 'Register for Assistance' tab to download a full list of our members, with contact details and an outline of the support offered.

"The earlier you get in touch with them, the better, as many can help with damage assessments for insurance claims, as well as provide support with things like loan equipment, consumable supplies, repairs and even connections with other businesses so that jobs in progress can be temnporarily outsourced.

"Meanwhile, we would urge all our industry colleagues to follow the directions of emergency services and avoid any risks in accessing their properties or businesses. Assets and equipment can be replaced, but lives cannot. Please, stay safe."

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