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Recovering from ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth has been made easier for retailer Zane Haas thanks to financial assistance administered by QRIDA.

Zane Haas inside his Maryborough business

It’s been a tough two years for Maryborough retailer Zane Haas. Following long lockdowns, lack of tourists and now living through Queensland’s peak of COVID-19, the last thing a small business like his needed was a natural disaster.

Between 7-10 January 2022, ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth caused devastation for the Wide Bay and Burnett region. Zane’s manufacturing, art and craft supply business 'Westwood Creation' in Maryborough’s main street was just one of the many businesses affected by floods.

“When I went into town that morning, I had a gut feeling that something was going to happen,” Zane explains.

“The way the rain fell in the catchment, there wasn’t any idea of how it was going to be because we didn’t have time to prepare like we normally would. We only had a short period of time because the water was coming up through the gutters,” he says.

Underneath Zane’s business is a water well, meaning that any water that rises through the streets ends up sitting under his shop with no-where to escape. Four weeks on from the flood, the ground is still not dry.

Damage underneath Zane's business

But Zane says there was relief when he found out about the Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants being administered by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).

Local council members spent the days following the disaster visiting local shops to explain what financial assistance was available. QRIDA representatives came to see Zane a few days later, but he had already submitted his first application.

“Even though I completed my application before I was visited by the QRIDA team, they said they would have been happy to sit down with me for one, two, three hours and go through it with me, whatever it takes,” Zane says.

“They then explained to me that you can put in an application for the grant more than once if things continue to go wrong with moisture and mould. So, I put in a second claim for other issues which has now been approved.”

“It’s been a big help to get us up and running.”

Zane says even after he submitted his application, he felt like the QRIDA team had his back by making sure he was getting the most out of the available grant funding.

“To have that help from the QRIDA team, even after your application, has been great. They’ll go through your application and offer help and talk about what else you may be able to claim, things that I hadn’t considered as eligible. I know it mightn’t seem like much but when you’re busy and have lots going on, it’s a big help,” Zane says.

“Some businesses are giving up but when you know you have that support, it gives you the confidence to keep pushing.”

While the road to recovery is still a long one for Zane’s business, he says, “My advice to other businesses is don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reach out and ask the questions yourself, no questions are stupid. So, ask the question because chances are, there’s help there for you.”

Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants of up to $50,000 are available for affected primary producers, small businesses and non-profits organisations in the Wide Bay region following heavy rainfall and flooding caused by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth. For more information on these grants, visit the QRIDA disaster recovery webpage.

Last updated
14 February 2022