TWENTY-TWO people have been found dead, and countless victims are harmed, after some of the most frightening floods in history swept through Queensland and Victoria last month.
Billions of dollars worth of infrastructure, housing and property is ruined. Hundreds of businesses are affected, with numerous either out-of-action while they patch-up their records, or totally wiped-out without a hope of playing in the market before the financial year is out.
IBISWorld estimates the floods will subtract 0.6 percentage points from our previous GDP forecast for the third quarter of 2010-11 (which ends March 31). No doubt, the floods are already having a significant impact on the Australian economy.
Estimates show that the floods will result in $2 billion in lost coking coal production, and a further $1.6 billion worth of crops.
Add to this approximately 18,000 residential and commercial properties being significantly affected in Brisbane and Ipswich, while productivity in the Brisbane CBD was completely halted for a time, affecting commercial construction and delaying important deals with businesses in other states.
Australian manufacturers are about to experience a ‘mini business boom’. Affected companies are going to need replacement machinery, maintenance personnel, construction and safety equipment to get their businesses back up and running.
Anyone who manufactures industrial-grade cleaning products is about to get an influx of business while Queenslanders attempt to re-build their plants, one foot of water at a time. Some plants won’t even be salvageable – some will need to re-build from scratch and will also need new automation systems, IT equipment and extra safety measures.
But while we’re looking at images of the disaster and waiting for the phone to ring with new orders, why don’t we all take a moment to think of how we can help those in need, rather than simply taking their money.
It’s no secret the Australian manufacturing industry has taken some hard knocks over the past three years, but it’s also a well-known fact that it is made up of a tight-knit group of individuals who are passionate about their businesses and what they can offer their customers.
Bravo to the Australian Industry Group, which has reacted quickly and launched a web page designed to connect those affected by the floods with those willing to help (www.aigroup.com.au/industryconnections/findhelp.php).
Fifteen companies were listed on the site at the time this magazine went to press, all offering free or discounted equipment, and free or discounted services, to those affected by the floods.
I hope that this column will encourage more companies to give a little to those so down on their luck.
The team members at Manufacturers’ Monthly would like to send their best wishes and condolences to those businesses and individuals affected by the floods in Queensland and Victoria.
We will also be publishing news of discounted and free goods on our website, at no cost, in a bid to make a difference to those in need.
Send your notices to us at the below email. As always, every little bit counts.
(*Figures correct at time of printing.)