Recovery takes longer than we think

Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ) is working with production and retail nurseries to improve their preparedness and to build risk mitigation strategies to increase the rate of recovery and resilience of nursery businesses following a natural disaster.

Interviews conducted by NGIQ with ten production and retail nursery owners impacted in 2017 by Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, and nine nursery owners impacted by Cyclones Marcia, Yasi and Larry revealed prolonged and consistent financial stressors occurring for up to three years following the natural disasters.

Cyclone Debbie caused severe to catastrophic damage to production nurseries located in Bowen, the Whitsundays, Mackay, Logan and on the Gold Coast. 

NGIQ Industry Recovery and Resilience Manager Kerry Battersby said Cyclone Debbie was the event that triggered nursery owners to strategically re-think their business.

“Some owners have delayed retirement for three to five years, while other nurseries have structurally redesigned their sites or changed their product lines, with one family-owned nursery still awaiting repairs to their home,” Ms Battersby said.

The Cyclone Debbie Agriculture Industry Recovery and Resilience Project undertaken by NGIQ shows nurseries can take up to 30 months or 2½ years to complete full infrastructure repairs after initial impact.

Evidence collected one year after Cyclone Debbie shows the average income loss experienced by nurseries is over $350,000. This figure could increase as full recovery may not be achieved for another 18 months, being a total of three years post-cyclone.

There is also clear evidence that impacts on the supply chain do not regain stability for up to three years.

NGIQ is continuing to work with production and retail nurseries to implement risk migration strategies, and improve resilience and resilience to rebuild, and grow in the future.