A group of 21 leading agencies in Australia have come together to form the Bushfire PR Alliance (BPRA), with the aim of supporting those communities and businesses that have been affected by the fires that have swept large parts of Australia.

Agencies will be paired, by business and tourism bodies, with a local area, town or region needing communications support and will work with them on either a project basis or an ongoing basis across 2020.

Leading media organisations, including News Corp Australia and Bauer Media, have also agreed to collaborate with the Alliance to provide valuable exposure to communities, Mumbrella reported.

The announcement comes as a survey by Roy Morgan highlighted how just over a quarter (26%) of Australian businesses have been affected to some extent by the bushfires.

Businesses in Queensland and NSW have been the hardest hit with 12% of Queensland businesses and 11% of NSW businesses affected ‘A great deal’ by the bushfires – far higher than any other States.

In general, businesses in NSW are the most likely to have been impacted with over a third (35%) affected in some way compared to around a quarter of businesses in Queensland (25%) and Victoria (24%). In contrast, only 16% of businesses in WA and 11% in Tasmania have been affected at all.

The nature of the impact ranges from ‘Cancelled bookings and events’, ‘Lack of tourists’ and ‘Air quality’ to ‘Lack of access to the business or properties because of the fires’, ‘Staff not available for work because of diversion to fighting fires’ and ‘Burned out entirely’.

Brands large and small are also looking to contribute in some way.

Mondelez International, for example, chose to donate a week’s worth of sales revenues from its snack brands associated with Australian animals – including Freddo, Caramello Koala and Furry Friends – to the bushfire response efforts of two zoos and a wildlife park. Estée Lauder simply donated A$200,000 to the Australian Red Cross.

Not surprisingly, the sector most badly hit is Accommodation and Food Services – which includes travel and tourism.

“Tourism is Australia’s fifth largest export earner valued at over $20 billion annually and it’s imperative that locals, as well as potential tourists from overseas, are made aware that there are many Australians eager to welcome tourists from far and wide to Australian shores – and there’s plenty to do and see!” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

Sourced from Mumbrella, Roy Morgan, Food Navigator Asia; additional content by WARC staff