Orange Chamber of Commerce president Ash Brown says help for struggling businesses is on the way, and the launch of Orange City Council's COVID-19 Rebound Group is just the first step.
Council launched its recovery plan on Friday, with a select group of business leaders from across Orange to gather in a bid to help the city rebound from the economic impact of the current pandemic.
Cr Brown said a number of businesses across Orange had fallen through the funding cracks, missing out on JobKeeper support through no fault of their own.
"We need to reach out to those businesses," Cr Brown said.
"When in business, if it's your problem your turnover has gone down, then fair enough. But when the reason for the downturn is totally external, you have to feel for them.
"There are a lot of local funds starting up. We're working with privateers looking to help businesses that have fallen through the cracks."
The COVID-19 Rebound Group will be chaired by Orange City Council's CEO Dave Waddell.
This is the time for us to start working on a planCouncil's Employment and Economic Development Policy Committee chair Cr Tony Mileto
The rest of the group is yet to be finalised.
Mr Waddell said the time is right for the community to prepare to rebuild.
"The COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on all Australians, specifically those in the business sector," Mr Waddell said.
"Businesses of all kinds have experienced closures, loss of customers, and in extreme cases temporary total loss of income."
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said the loss to those businesses, from retail to hospitality, would be well into the millions-of-dollars.
He said "no idea is a bad idea" as the city looks to bounce back, and urged members of the business community to come forward to help the sector recover.
The new group is designed to be a steering committee that will take advice from pre-existing committees such as Council's Employment and Development Committee and other community members, following advice from the State and Federal governments.
Invitations for the COVID-19 Rebound Group will be issued next week to local businesses and community members and a core group will then be formed.
Council's Employment and Economic Development Policy Committee chair Cr Tony Mileto said as the rebound group was a wonderful initiative, and said when it begins to take shape council will start to better understand the hardship the business sector has endured.
Charles Sturt University's mission is to build skills and knowledge in the regions, and that's more important than ever in a post-COVID world.CSU director of external engagement Julia Andrews
"Although the group may only be in action for a number of months, this is the time for us to start working on a plan," Cr Mileto added.
Charles Sturt University is backing the rebound project and its director of external engagement Julia Andrews said a continued focus on health would be crucial.
"Charles Sturt University's mission is to build skills and knowledge in the regions, and that's more important than ever in a post-COVID world," she added.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS AND SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...