The flood emergency in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria has impacted hundreds of thousands of people. Tragically, lives have been lost, and homes, workplaces and community facilities have been inundated with record levels of floodwaters.
As community owned and operated businesses for the common good, co-ops and mutuals are well placed to contribute to the immediate emergency response and the longer recovery effort for communities impacted by extreme climate events and other disasters. In some regions, the clean-up and recovery will take months or even years. Stock, infrastructure and capital losses have a profound effect on businesses, not to mention workers who are also faced with personal losses at home. Off the back of the pandemic, as well as bushfires in some regions, this is yet another trauma. However, as in previous disasters, we know that co-ops and mutuals will play a pivotal role in rebuilding their local communities.
Small grants for flood impacted communities – donate today
The Australian Mutuals Foundation (AMF), in partnership with the BCCM, G&C Mutual Bank and Summerland Credit Union, has issued two rounds of small grants to assist co-operatives and mutuals and members of these organisations to help their communities to recover from the impact of the floods. Donate now to the Australian Mutuals Foundation.
March 2022 floods update
How co-ops and mutuals are helping
Responding to the crisis, the Australia Mutuals Foundation, the mutual sector’s charitable fund, has activated its emergency/disaster relief donations portal to accept donations from the Australian co-operative and mutual community for the flood disaster relief effort to help communities impacted by the devastating floods in News South Wales and Southern Queensland. Donate to the AMF Flood Disaster Relief fund.
Australian Military Bank is providing financial assistance to impacted members as well as supporting displaced veterans, kicking off its campaign with an initial $20,000 donation to ‘Wounded Heroes’, the valuable support program that provides accommodation and other assistance in instances where veterans and their families have been displaced. The Bank will match donations made by its staff to this cause over March and April.
Australian Unity has a range of packages to support members, customers and employees.
bcu‘s support package for impacted customers is now available.
Beyond Bank is encouraging members to call so that they can work out a way to assist.
CivicRisk Mutual is supporting member councils at Richmond Valley, Hawkesbury, Penrith, Blue Mountains, Wollondilly, Blacktown, Parramatta and as well as its other members. Members are provided prompt assistance and damage assessments in order to determine potential claim costs and, where appropriate, members are offered up-front initial claim payments to enable quick repair, replacement and reinstatement of their community services and facilities. This service has previously proven to reduce the pressure on Councils and their cash flows during stressful times and has provided positive outcomes for members’ communities.
Employsure has prepared a complimentary extreme weather pack with resources for managing employees.
Great Southern Bank is offering a support package for affected customers.
Greater Bank has a support package for affected customers.
HCF Health Insurance is supporting customers with access to premium waivers and temporary suspensions and access to mental health support.
Heritage Bank has also provided a support package for affected customers, as well as donating $100,000 to assist flood victims. Heritage Bank is also accepting donations from its members to support the flood response, both in-branch and online.
Koori Mail is accepting funds and providing practical support for Indigenous communities.
Marquis Macadamias has provided a grower liaison officer to work with affected growers.
Norco Rural Store in Lismore is now open for business. Thanks to all of the Norco team who are working so hard to get the Norco ice cream factory and mills cleaned up.
ORICoop is offering support to producers impacted by the floods as well as seeking donations and volunteers.
Queensland Country Bank has donated $50,000 to GIVIT and has a support package for affected customers. “Our Boards and Executive Teams fully supported Queensland Country making a combined donation of $50,000 on behalf of our bank and health fund, and after speaking to the team at GIVIT, we feel very confident that our donation will make a tangible difference to the flood recovery for Queenslanders”, said Queensland Country Group CEO, Aaron Newman.
RACQ’s care flights and rescue helicopter service have been providing extensive support. In addition, RACQ’s Mobile Member Centre travelled to Gympie to assist with claims, while its roadside assistance responded to record volumes of calls. RACQ has assured customers that they are covered for storms and floods, and had already had more than 8,800 claims just from within Queensland as of midday Thursday. RACQ is offering tailored financial relief packages.
RACQ Foundation is helping grassroots community organisations get back on their feet after the recent floods, with new grants worth up to $100,000 now on offer.
RapidClean has put together a GoFundMe page locally owned store, RapidClean Byron Coast (Southern Cross Hygiene) in Lismore, which has been devasted by the recent catastrophic floods, losing all stock in both warehouses including two vans and forklifts. The Pembroke family will need to start again, building from the ground up.
Summerland Credit Union is providing a support package for affected customers.
Summerland Credit Union has established a Community Banking Hub at Southern Cross University, Lismore. The community banking hub is supported by Summerland, Newcastle Permanent, Southern Cross Credit Union, G&C Mutual and Greater Bank.
The Casino Food Co-operative has been a centre point for recovery and food distribution hub from the commencement of the flood event. They have utilised hard and soft assets in the emergency effort including refrigeration plant and equipment, plant and forklifts to operate food and emergency distribution hub, chopper pad, fuel tanks, mobile generators, earth moving equipment. Staff, including plant workers and cleaning teams, have volunteered for the relief effort and are cleaning homes and assisting with food distribution.
Fortuitously, the Co-op had agreed to take in the entire fresh produce of a Lismore fruit and veg shop after it was evacuated. Those 20 pallets of fresh fruit and vegetables became vital for keeping locals in evacuation centres alive.
The Co-op became the centre for air drops to the isolated and cut-off communities. The Co-op’s people were all ‘hands-on deck’ packing food hampers for the food drops and out in the field helping to evacuate and clean inundated properties.
This disaster highlights how important it is for industry and emergency services to come together for the good of the community. The Co-op delivered 90 pallets of food, using 20 helicopters and 11 trucks to 14 communities. It’s estimated the Co-op helped feed around 4,000 people during the crisis.
The Mutual Bank is providing impacted customers with assistance or financial hardship relief as appropriate to their situation.
Impacted co-ops and mutuals
bcu branches are closed in Brisbane, Murwillumbah, Lismore, Ballina, Iluka, Grafton and Toormina.
Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-Operative has been taking it hour by hour for now. Their community spirit and resilience in managing the challenges has shone through.
HCF Health Insurance‘s Lismore branch is badly impacted.
Koori Mail‘s offices have been destroyed. Last week was its first missed publication date in 30 years. Despite this, Koori Mail assisted with evacuations for remote Indigenous communities.
Nundah Community Enterprises Co-op lost $10,000 worth of stock and equipment in soccer club canteens, which they run to provide work opportunities to people from refugee backgrounds. Despite this, Nundah Community Enterprises Co-op teams are assisting with cleanup.
Norco‘s Ice-cream factory and Lismore facilities were flooded.
RapidClean‘s Lismore branch was destroyed (Southern Cross Cleaning).
Summerland Credit Union suffered significant damage to its Lismore branch and head office. The upper floors of the head office may be available in 1-2 months. The branch will be 6+ months. A second multi-storey commercial building in the CBD owned by SCU was similarly damaged. The tenants are a welfare organisation
TNR Accounting offices have been destroyed.
Multiple organisations have closed branches, but it is unclear at this stage whether they are flooded or just inaccessible.
Government flood support
NSW Government support
- Assistance for areas affected by severe storms and floods in NSW
- Disaster Relief Grant for individuals
- Businesses or not-for-profit organisations impacted by the NSW storms and floods of January to March 2022
- Rural Assistance Authority – Disaster relief loans – Primary producers
- Rural Assistance Authority – Disaster relief loans – Small business
- Financial support for businesses affected by floods
- Support for farmers and primary producers
Queensland Government support
- General flood support information
- Personal support and services for Queenslanders
- Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants to assist directly impacted small businesses, primary producers and non-profits with the costs of clean-up and reinstatement.
- https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/protecting-business/disaster-resilience information
Federal Government support