The devastating bushfires affected the Australian eastern seaboard from September 2019 to March 2020. The fires burnt an estimated 1,866,000 square kilometres. The economic damage from this event is estimated at around AU$4.5 billion. It was only in March this year that Australia saw the last of the bushfire's extinguished.
Whilst the recent COVID-19 Pandemic crisis has taken centre stage, no one has forgotten the extremely challenging circumstances that continue to be faced by the many fire affected communities and businesses.
The New Zealand government supported the bushfire emergency response effort including the deployment of around 179 NZ firefighters and 100 NZ Defence Force personnel. But we know there is a desire from our New Zealand people and our businesses to do more to support Australian's and Australian businesses in both the short and long term.
NZTE is assisting the bushfire recovery effort, by working with the major recovery agencies which is being added to as we continue to build relationships.
Business Council of Australia (BCA) through its BizRebuild program to support practical and on the ground assistance to small and local businesses left devastated by the bushfires. The BCA represents Australia's largest employers, and its BizRebuild program (led by the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove) is designed to run for five years specifically to help businesses recover to create jobs, rebuild stronger communities and restore thriving local economies.
Advice to exporters
NZTE is seeking to connect with any business that may have the capacity to provide support, to help Australia's bushfire affected businesses and communities. This could come in a range of ways e. g. providing replacement equipment, helping build pop-up shops, replacement and/or repair of grounds, buildings and infrastructure, or providing services such as resilience planning/recovery advice, project management, environmental planning and management, etc. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we understand that it may not be possible to assist right now, but this could change in the longer term.