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6 Months from Queensland’s flooding: half of state’s SMEs still financially impacted

Close to 50% of Queensland businesses Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) surveyed six months on from the February and March 2022 flooding event say the disaster either directly or indirectly impacted their operations while 47% indicated long-term, ongoing impacts to their financial viability.

CCIQ’s 2022 South East Queensland Floods Report assesses the disaster’s impact on businesses across the state, including the direct and indirect impacts on operations, staff, accessibility, economic activity and supply chain disruptions.

Key facts 

  • Close to half (49%) of businesses surveyed state-wide were impacted in some capacity. 20% were directly impacted.
  • Of businesses who were impacted and reported lost earnings, the average loss was more than $185,000, an average of 12% of annual turnover (or a median loss of $50,000, or 10% of annual turnover).
  • More than a third (34%) of businesses who lost earnings indicted they lost between $100,000 and $500,000.
  • Businesses closed for a median of five days.
  • More than 47% of respondents indicated long-term, ongoing impacts to their financial viability.
  • 10% indicated they couldn’t claim the disaster on their insurance.

CEO Heidi Cooper said the findings illustrated the unique impact of the flooding circumstances, which were compounded against existing and ongoing economic and business constraints.

“In February many Queensland businesses were still recovering financially and emotionally from the impacts of COVID and were then further hit by the floods,” Ms Cooper said.

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“While we saw wide-spread business impacts among close to 50% of businesses we surveyed, 20% told us they were directly impacted.

“More than half of impacted respondents indicated moderate to critical impacts to their short-term business sales.

“A disaster can impact businesses in many ways, including forced closures, inundation and power loss.

“However these findings illustrate natural disasters impact the state’s business community, supply chain and workforces beyond the disaster zone and can have lasting direct and indirect impacts on businesses.

“We know disaster impacts are often on-going and businesses can still be affected even after the physical recovery is finished.

“In fact, more than 47% of respondents indicated long-term, ongoing impacts to their financial viability.”

Of businesses who were impacted and reported lost earnings, the average loss was more than $185,000, an average of 12% of annual turnover (or a median loss of $50,000, or 10% of annual turnover).

What’s more, one in 10 businesses indicated they couldn’t claim the disaster on their insurance. CCIQ Pulse data for the September 2022 quarter shows insurance premium costs were among the most significant growth constraints for businesses across the state.

“In the days after the disaster, CCIQ provided a submission to the Queensland Government with recommendations based on response, relief and recovery,” Ms Cooper said.

“In the six months since the disaster we’ve worked to ensure businesses across the state have access to resources and support to ensure they can maintain day-to-day productivity and confidently plan for the future of their business.

“In particular, we know mental health and wellbeing support is among the most significant concerns for Queensland businesses.

“It’s why we’re working to ensure business owners and workforces have access to mental health support services when and where they need it.”

Ahead of the Queensland State Budget in June, CCIQ made a series of recommendations to support disaster resilient regions, including to expand funding arrangements for preparedness efforts and build resilience in regions. Accelerated investments in existing transport infrastructure assets to build resilience against extreme weather events was also recommended.

“We know long-term disaster preparedness and resilience is critical to allow Queensland businesses to plan and recovery from natural disasters, now and in the future,” Ms Cooper said.

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