Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Tue 21 Apr 2020

Good Morning,

I hope you are doing ok today. We are seeing many examples of strong collaboration between our members and various levels of Government, organisations and companies as we all work together to best support, advise and help regional businesses across WA. We have included a couple in today’s COVID 19 update and will continue to do so in future communications. Our members are continuing to demonstrate impressive leadership and flexibility as they adapt to deliver services and activities that are vital at this time to their members and their broader business community.

At RCCIWA we are continuing to focus on:

  • Collating relevant information and communicating concisely with our members, so as not to overwhelm
  • Directing our members to accurate business-related websites and resources as well as building on our COVID 19 resources on our member portal
  • Advocating to all tiers of Government to ensure our regional voice in heard in all decision-making processes and that priority issues are communicated appropriately
  • Attempting to secure funding for each of our members who are providing a key role in supporting and connecting regional businesses and who will be essential once we get through this, in the re-build.
  • Reaching out to our members directly and ensuring we are connected and that they feel supported
  • Being a conduit of information, sharing impactful examples

In for the Long Haul -  Esperance CCI and the Shire of Esperance
The Shire of Esperance has partnered with the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry to deliver the “Local for the Long Haul” campaign. Local for the Long Haul is aimed at encouraging Esperance residents to support local business in their adaption to new ways of doing business and how they are engaging customers. To find out how they are encouraging their community to embrace "Local for the Long Haul" read more here

Onslow Shop Local Program – Chevron and the Onslow CCI
An initiative of the Chevron Onslow Relief Fund to support the Onslow Community & Local Businesses during this time of uncertainty resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. The program has been designed to enthuse the local community in supporting local businesses by eligible local residents having an opportunity to apply for vouchers to the total value of $300 to use at participating Onslow businesses over the next 12 months. To find out more read here.

Karratha & Districts Weekly Coffee Catch – Featuring Senator Michaelia Cash
The KDCCI are holding weekly online coffee catch ups to keep that vital connection with their members. They have been very well received.  This week they have a very special guest in Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash. Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator for Western Australia. Great work KDCCI – what a great opportunity you are providing for your local businesses. To find out more details read here.   

RCCIWA Impact Survey Two Results
Thank you to everyone who shared and completed our second COVID 19 Regional Business Impact survey. We will continue conducting this survey every 2 to 3 weeks so we can gain a continuing understanding of the economic impacts of COVID 19 on our regional businesses. We are sharing the data collected with government departments and agencies from all three tiers, and the information is being utilised to help form polices and actions to minimise the negative economic impact this pandemic is having. You can share this survey information with your networks and stakeholders. The data of most concern to RCCIWA from this survey is:

  • 189 respondents out of the total of 250 have been negatively or severely negatively impacted
  • 19% of businesses had lost 100% of their business income
  • 50% of all respondents are still confused, have not applied or are unsure about whether they are eligible for any relief or stimulus support.

There was however an improvement in that 60% of all businesses felt confident that their business would survive this crisis, which is an increase from 50% in our first survey two weeks ago. 

Recommended Sources for Business Information
Both the SBDC and CCIWA have developed excellent COVID-19 online resources, specifically for businesses. Both of the sites are free, and anyone can access them. CCIWA have also developed a Stimulus Support Guide to explain what is available, who is eligible and how businesses can access the measures. They are updating their sites regularly. We recommend you direct your members to these and also have a look at their updates and information for you own use. The Federal Government also has business specific information.

Relief and Stimulus
The already announced relief and financial support available for businesses is detailed both by the SBDC and the Federal Government on their sites. They have made it easy to understand and give information as to how businesses access any stimulus if they are eligible. We are also hearing from many businesses that the ATO have been incredibly helpful and recommend that businesses phone them directly for assistance – there is a bit of a wait of the phone, however once you speak to someone they are very helpful and will walk the business through everything they need to do or could be eligible for.

Direct Business Advice
All of our members have accountants, bookkeepers, financial advisers and business advisers as members. All of these businesses’ services will be crucial in getting the correct and relevant information out to their clients (your other members) and also all businesses in your community. This includes information on how businesses access Government relief and stimulus packages, as well as measures they can take right now to minimise the impact and protect the long-term viability of their business. Some of our members have been facilitating online sessions (using Zoom or Skype or WebEx) featuring one of their members giving advice and relevant information to attendees. A great example of this is the COVID 19 Continuity Planning session that the Albany CCI held last week. See here to find out more. 

New Business Support Unit at Tourism WA
A special team has been established at Tourism Western Australia to offer support to members of the tourism industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Industry Support Team was developed with key industry partners and will offer support and information to WA tourism industry operators from people who understand the tourism industry. The new team includes members of Tourism WA's stakeholder relations, public relations, markets, and destination development groups. To find out more read here

Good to Go (G2G) Pass App developed by WA Police for Essential travel during Current Restrictions
WA Police have developed their G2G app so that businesses that need to travel throughout Western Australia can apply and have the pass with them on their phone. To find out more and apply read here

Public Authority Health Advice
We recommend that you follow State and Federapublic authority advice in regard to health and hygiene measures as well as social distancing rules.

As we all continue to grapple with the rapidly accelerating impacts and measures being introduced to minimise the impact of COVID 19, we are so proud of our members and the way they have all responded. WA’s regional Chambers of Commerce, Business Networks and Business Associations are demonstrating incredible leadership and strength in supporting their business and broader communities. They are the local organisation that everyone is turning to, the trusted friend, the valued adviser and the voice of their local business community. We are always so proud of our members – and never more so than during this unprecedented time. Thank you for all that you are doing. We are here for you and will support you in any way we are able.

Be Informed. Stay Connected.

We are all in this together.

Kitty Prodonovich