THE sheer scale of flood damage caused to businesses across the Tweed Coast is only now being revealed.
More than 350 businesses, many of which provide essential services to the community, were affected by flooding triggered by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie earlier this year.
Of those inundated, 177 were in Murwillumbah with a further 40 located in the nearby town of Tumbulgum.
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Most of the major damage occurred in South Murwillumbah, which houses a small retail precinct, most of the town’s mechanical services and two industrial areas.
The Murwillumbah industrial area on the eastern side of the Tweed River was among the hardest hit areas with more than half of the precinct – or roughly 65 hectares – affected by inundation.
These businesses are primarily in the manufacturing, transport, wholesale, construction and agricultural services.
Many of these essential businesses are not yet operational and some of them may be forced to permanently shut up shop without financial assistance.
Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne said it was important that businesses make contact with recovery support agencies to ensure they access the help available.
“Small businesses are so important to our local communities, so it’s vital to help them to get back on their feet,” she said.
“Hundreds of businesses were hit by the floods ranging from sole traders and small family operations, right through to big industrial operators.
“We are all still coming to terms with the full social and economic toll of the floods and as the recovery efforts continue we need to keep supporting our local businesses,” Councillor Milne said.
To apply for a recovery grant or to find out about disaster assistance, eligible small businesses should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
The NSW Business Connect program also provides advice on managing your business and accessing financial assistance on 1300 134 359.
The NSW Mental Health flood assistance line is also available to provide help and support on 1300 137 934 and is open during working hours.