DISTRESSED Murwillumbah business owners have confronted NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as they come to terms with the massive losses suffered in the flood.
About 60 people gathered in the street yesterday as Ms Berejiklian visited businesses in South Murwillumbah to assess the damage caused to the region.
"The way everyone's pulling together is amazing but we know not just the community here that can rely on each other, you need some support from us,” Ms Berejiklian said.
"We appreciate how much work you've done to build up business and support the community in creating jobs and we're here to support you in the recovery phase.”
Ms Berejiklian said the State Government, alongside the Federal Government, would do everything it could to ensure insurance companies provided the proper assistance to get Murwillumbah businesses owners back on their feet.
"I don't want you to feel that the first few days when the nation's attention is on you is the only time we're going to be here,” she said.
"It's going to be weeks and months. I'd love to come and sit down to talk to each and every one of you individually but we'll make sure there is someone who will so if you have a specific issue you need fixed or if you have a specific a set of circumstances you'll need someone to deal with, that will happen.”
But many business owners fear this assurance won't be enough.
Right Food Group owner Annie Brownjohn operates her business from South Murwillumbah and said she has lost so much because of the flood she fears she won't be able to recover.
"I've lost everything,” Ms Brownjohn said.
"This community has just started to pick up in the last 12 months with businesses. If we don't get ourselves back on our feet, we're stuffed. If I can't get this covered, we're going to struggle.”
Dato Glass Group owner Darren Tester, who operates from South Murwillumbah, said he too didn't think he would be able to keep operating after the amount of damage caused to his Stafford St business.
"I've lost half a million dollars,” he said.
"A lot of us are thinking about closing the doors and not coming back. We're not covered. The insurers said don't even bother filling out the forms because we're in a flood zone.”
Ms Brownjohn said many business owners were concerned the insurers wouldn't be able to cover the amount of money they've lost as a result of the flood.
"We've never even had a puddle during floods,” she said.
" I'm really resentful when someone says I'm in a flood zone because we haven't had a flood over here in at least 50 years. There's never been any water in this part of Murwillumbah.”
Tweed Shire Council's economic development officer and business facilitator Kym Kranen said she was worried Murwillumbah would struggle to recover from the flood.
"Some businesses won't survive this,” Ms Kranen said after she spoke with several businesses over the weekend.
"Our unemployment rate here is higher than state and national. We're sitting in one of the higher brackets.
"For us to lose jobs because businesses are closing down will be an absolute tragedy. We can't even afford to lose one job.”
Meanwhile, the Murwillumbah & District Business Chamber and NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers will host a business recovery forum on Friday.
The forum will be held at the Murwillumbah RSL Club, from 6.30am for 7am start.
Key representatives from local, State and Federal Government agencies will be in attendance as well as the SES to assist in providing the most up to date information regarding business assistance and recovery efforts in clean up and business re-establishment.
Register to attend the Business Recovery Forum via the following link https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/murwillumbah-business-recov...
or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or Ailesh.email@example.com