COVID-19
RDAMR MediaRelease

23 March 2020

RDAMR to provide regionally-focussed business support amid COVID-19

Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) is working through priority changes to its programs, work systems and other measures to focus on supporting businesses and industry which are on the front-line of the COVID-19 impacts.

RDAMR Chair Neil Martinson said as the regions brace for uncertain times ahead, the RDAMR team is working to ensure all of its efforts are prioritised towards those who need them most.

“We know many businesses and their staff are facing significant hardship and may be feeling scared, isolated and overwhelmed,” Mr Martinson says.

“We don’t want to add to the uncertainty, so we are taking immediate action to focus on what we can tangibly do, within our existing resources.”

Effective immediately, the RDAMR are working with funding organisations to adapt its programs to respond to business needs in the face of COVID-19. The details are being finalised, but will include changes to key programs such as Experts In Residence; Business 2 Business; Food and Agritourism; Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Tourism Alliance; the Murray River Study Hub and more.

RDAMR Chief Executive Ben Fee has also tasked his team with urgently connecting with key business and industry in the Murraylands and Riverland to get a “real” feel for the impacts, ensuring this intel is fed into government’s evolving response measures.

“Over the past week, and ramping up again today, our team will be in direct contact with hundreds of businesses across the region to gather on-the-ground intel, which will guide our resources and future responses,” Mr Fee says.

“Through our broad network, we have already heard of many heart-breaking challenges for our regional businesses. Most of these boil down to the struggle to maintain cash reserves, where revenue flows are slowing (and in some cases completely ceasing), while expenses have remained the same or increased.

RDA national networks are reflecting the same circumstances across the country, and support measures coming from the Government for business and households are offering some relief. The RDAMR will continue presenting local issues, impacts and innovations to help shape future stimulus and support toward the most needed issues.

The key message to business right now is: “don’t wait, act now”. The following steps should be taken sooner, rather than later, as part of business continuity planning:

  1. Undertake a cashflow review;
  2. Review your employer obligations;
  3. Contact your bank and other creditors and ask for support with payments; and
  4. Review your product or service offering and your supply chains and network for opportunities to assist in the response to COVID-19.

Mr Martinson said amongst the heartbreak of this crisis, there are positive stories emerging.

“We are heartened by acts of generosity and amazed by innovations occurring across Australia. Banks are freezing loans and reducing rates, cafes are going online overnight, hotels are offering ‘quarantine rooms’, restaurants are shifting to takeaway options, and businesses are reaching out and rallying community support, in turn creating entirely new business opportunities,” he says.

“Now is the time to lead by example. Let’s set the example for following the direction of authorities. Let’s band together and support each other like only Murraylanders and Riverlanders can. Let’s protect and support the vulnerable in our community. Most importantly, let’s strive to be kind and generous in all that we do, more than ever before.”

As the RDAMR closes its offices in Murray Bridge and Berri, rest assured that our staff are working remotely to maintain support throughout this time.

People who need support can phone or email staff during normal business hours. If you can only make contact out of hours, please use our RDAMR Contact Us page on our website and we will get back to you.

We will also be delivering regular updates on our adapted programs and response measures over the coming weeks on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, or you can sign up to our eNews here to stay in touch.

Media contact:

Analise Gates, RDAMR Marketing and Communications Executive

M: 0408 898 320 | E: agates@rdamr.com.au

 

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