Hard times for ru­ral busi­nesses

Central and North Burnett Times - - RU­RAL - JES­SICA MCGRATH

BURNETT busi­nesses are find­ing them­selves in ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances through­out the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm said many of the changes hap­pened overnight.

“They would be un­der ex­treme cir­cum­stances in do­ing that, I’m so proud of the busi­ness com­mu­nity in sur­viv­ing in this time,” she said.

Ms Frahm said it was im­por­tant to recog­nise many busi­nesses, es­pe­cially in farm­ing, were still fac­ing drought re­cov­ery on top of the pan­demic.

But she is op­ti­mistic many busi­nesses will use this time to be in­no­va­tive and con­tinue to move for­ward.

“Many busi­nesses are think­ing be­yond, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to di­ver­sify, to do things dif­fer­ently,” Ms Frahm said.

“They are em­brac­ing that op­por­tu­nity to bring some­thing good out of a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion.

“It’s great to see some busi­nesses are tak­ing that as a chance to look at their way for­ward.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers are en­cour­aged to reach out to neigh­bours and friends.

“Even though we are re­stricted in move­ments, please don’t be iso­lated,” Ms Frahm said.

She said it was im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, but also look for­ward.

“While there’s un­cer­tainty, we must re­main hope­ful and op­ti­mistic for the fu­ture — th­ese chal­leng­ing times makes us stronger,” Ms Frahm said.

BIEDO has fa­cil­i­tated its weekly event Breakky with BIEDO, an Ag Net­work meet­ing and var­i­ous other meet­ings over the vir­tual plat­form

Zoom.

“Now more than ever it’s im­por­tant that we con­nect to each other,” Ms Frahm said.

Their Breakky with BIEDO event has be­come pop­u­lar as the busi­ness com­mu­nity con­nects to share in­for­ma­tion and up­dates about the cur­rent as­sis­tance mea­sures.

Ses­sion in­for­ma­tion is shared on BIEDO’s Face­book page and par­tic­i­pa­tion is free of charge.

Top­ics raised last week in­cluded the Jobkeeper Pay­ment Scheme, sole trader sup­port, the Care Army ini­tia­tive and drought re­cov­ery.

BIEDO may even look at in­cor­po­rat­ing Zoom meet­ings to con­nect the dif­fer­ent busi­nesses sep­a­rated by dis­tance across the North and South Burnett af­ter the health cri­sis ends.

“We would be ab­so­lutely con­sid­er­ing th­ese op­tions, without this sit­u­a­tion, that might not have even­tu­ated,”

Ms Frahm said.

“It’s def­i­nitely an op­tion and a great way to in­crease how ac­ces­si­ble the ac­tiv­i­ties are for the broader com­mu­ni­ties.”

Pic­ture: File

PUSH­ING FOR­WARD: BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm (far right) with Mandy Bishop, Fleur An­der­son and Melinda Jones.

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