Support and advice: a helping hand

In the confusion and chaos following a crisis event there are a number of tough issues that arise and you may find the need to seek support and advise.  You can seek help from a number of sources.

Financial advice and support

Accountant

Talk to your accountant about the financial position of your business.

Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can provide a range of support measures to assist you in a crisis event. Read the ATO’s Guide to Dealing with Disasters External link

Financial institutions

Contact your financial institution to discuss your financial situation and possible emergency relief and support measures. The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has prepared a factsheet on assistance banks can provide if you are experiencing financial difficulties. For more information visit the ABA website External link

Government

A major crisis event may prompt some financial support from the Government that could assist you through a time of low turnover. However, this depends largely on the size and impact of the event on your region.

Government financial assistance is generally made available to those businesses directly destroyed or damaged, however those indirectly impacted are not typically eligible for such assistance.

Check what grants and support services and disaster assistance may be available by visiting the Grants Victoria website External link and the Grant Finder on the business.gov.au website External link

For general tips on making the most of your money, visit the Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC) MoneySmart website External link

Industry Associations

Industry associations can often assist with information on employment contracts, alternative suppliers, and consultants who may be able to help you manage the crisis. 

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) has established the VECCI Business Relief Fund to provide short term emergency financial support for businesses adversely impacted by natural disaster.

Upon declaration from the State Government that a natural disaster has occurred, the Chief Executive of VECCI will determine whether to activate the fund. The Chief Executive may at his discretion determine to activate the fund under circumstances where a natural disaster has not been declared and business is experiencing hardship as a result of extreme weather conditions.

Specific guidelines will be prepared for each natural disaster for which the Fund is activated.

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) may also lobby government for resources to assist regions and businesses affected by a crisis event.

Business advice and support

Lawyer

Examine your legal responsibilities with a solicitor. They can help interpret employment contracts, leases, contracts of supply, insurance policies, and give advice on your legal options 

If you don’t have an existing solicitor you can find one near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral Service External link All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview.

Business advisor

You can discuss your position in the new market and decide whether it's possible for you to continue your business, and the capacity in which you can do so.

Small Business Mentoring Service

The Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) is a not-for-profit association providing small business operators with the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors. All mentors are volunteers, and have either owned their own small business or worked in an organisation with strong links to small business.

For minimal cost, Victorian small businesses can access the wisdom and experience of the SBMS mentors. Visit the SBMS website External link to read more about the backgrounds and expertise of the SBMS mentors.

Company fees & records

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) may be able to assist if your business is finding it difficult to meet company obligations due to a crisis event.

To learn more, visit the ASIC website External link

Victorian Small Business Commissioner

The Victorian Small Business Commissioner has information on a range of small business issues.

It also offers a dispute resolution service for businesses in dispute with other businesses or with government, often at no cost to either party. Businesses with certain disputes (for example, over retail leases) may be required to use this service before they can go to court.

To find out more, visit the Victorian Small Business Commissioner website External link

Industrial and workplace relations

The Fair Work Ombudsman has published a factsheet on employment entitlements during disasters or emergencies. View the factsheet on the Fairwork Ombudsman website External link

For further information, visit www.fairwork.gov.au External link or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

In addition, industry associations such as the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) External link can provide advice on workplace relations. 

For more information on employee advice, visit the Managing staff page

Insurer or insurance broker

If you have questions about your insurance policy or need to find out who your insurer is, you can call the Insurance Council of Australia’s disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

The Financial Ombudsman Service offers a free service that aims to resolve disputes between consumers and participating insurance companies. If you are having a dispute with your insurance company you can call them on 1300 780 808 or visit the Financial Ombudsman Service website External link

For more information on insurance during a crisis event, visit the Insurance page

Emotional support

Crisis Support Services

Lifeline offers confidential emotional and crisis support 24 hours a day. Call 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website External link

Beyondblue can also help people suffering from depression or anxiety. To learn more, visit the Beyondblue website External link

Family, friends or community members

Seek help from family or friends. You could also consider talking to other affected businesses in your local community to find an arrangement that will benefit both of you.

For more information on looking after yourself during a crisis event, visit the Prepare your mind page

Last Updated 6th March 2015