FIRES SPECIAL: Visual Connections ready to assist

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Industry suppliers association Visual Connections says it stands ready to assist print businesses impacted by the fires, and will help organise and cover the cost of bridging production to enable jobs to get out.

Ready to assist: Peter Harper, general manager, Visual Connections
Ready to assist: Peter Harper, general manager, Visual Connections

Peter Harper, CEO of Visual Connections, said, “Working with our members, trade printers and trade sign suppliers, Visual Connections will help to organise – and, if necessary, cover the cost of – bridging production, to ensure all affected businesses can produce their current contracted orders,” he announced.

It has also released a comprehensive listing of how to donate to the bushfire recovery effort, and how to seek help for printers and their families in the bushfire zones.

Harper said, "Our sector, like Australians more broadly, is known for the way it responds in times of crisis and, since reaching out earlier in the week to our members, many companies have already been able to advise us of the initiatives they are introducing to help businesses affected by this unfolding disaster, while many more have advised us that they are finalising their plans."

“We will coordinate a list of offers from our members, the industry's suppliers, and will host that information on our website, updating it regularly as new information comes to hand.”

Further, Harper says the association itself has swung into action to assist.

"In the immediate aftermath of the bushfires, we know that there will be many industry businesses which have either had their facilities lost or damaged, have interruptions to power and supply, or whose staff are otherwise occupied on more critical matters, and we stand ready to help them navigate through this difficult time."

The association says at this point, the protection of lives and assets is paramount, and it will be some time in each area before efforts can move past these immediate needs. It says for anyone that would like to assist with this initial stage, the best advice at present is to donate money rather than goods.

Industry suppliers are already stepping forward with both specific assistance offers – with the likes of Roland DG, Mutoh, Jetmark and Mimaki offering support – and with generous donations to the crisis appeal, with major corporates including Fuji Xerox and Ricoh quickly out of the blocks with five figure donations to the cause.

According to Visual Connections there are a number of reputable organisations involved in supporting both those impacted and the emergency services involved, including the Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul (Qld, NSW & SA), and the Salvation Army.

You can also donate via the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website (for all affected states), and the Victorian Government’s Vic Emergency Website.

Importantly, these sites also provide information on issues including financial counselling for businesses, insurance matters and replacing documents and identification.

The ATO and ASIC have also put out information relating to the business obligations of businesses affected by bushfires.

Visual Connections has also been in touch with its contacts at Share the Dignity, one of the charities it supported at PrintEx. It is already involved in providing much needed sanitary supplies to evacuees and also fire fighters in the affected areas. Check how you can support them at

The association says natural disasters not only create a range of physical and practical problems, they can also trigger strong emotional and psychological reactions. If you are affected by these events, have friends or family in the fire zones, or are struggling with the trauma wherever you are, Visual Connections would encourage you to reach out to one of the many agencies who have people on hand to help. These include Lifeline – or phone 13 11 14; Beyond Blue; Headspace (free online and telephone service helping young people between 12-25 and their families going through a tough time) – or call 1800 650 890; and Kids Helpline (free, private and confidential counselling for young people between 5 - 25 years) – or call 1800 55 1800.

(Thanks to Man Anchor for helping us compile this list.)

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