Please note

The Business Recovery Advisory Service is no longer taking on new clients.

How we can help you

The Business Recovery Advisory Service is no longer taking on new clients.

Additional support can be accessed via a range of ongoing support services including:

For additional support

Call Bushfire Recovery Victoria on 1800 560 760 or Business Victoria 13 22 15.

Case studies

Meet our Business Recovery Advisers

Sam Hicks

Lead Business Recovery Adviser for North East of Victoria

Sam Hicks

Sam is the Lead Business Recovery Adviser supporting all bushfire impacted business in the North East of Victoria. Sam is a local Alexandra (North East Victoria) resident and local business owner of over 25 years, based in Murrindindi and Mansfield, North East Victoria.

Sam comes with significant experience in regional business development, business recovery planning and resilience, marketing and much more. Post 2009 Murrindindi fires, Sam assisted in the recovery of a significant number of bushfire affected businesses from the disaster and has an appreciation and understanding of these business communities.

Sam has strong networks in government, also working with Mansfield Shire to deliver workshops and recovery business planning and resilience mentoring as an Australian Small Business Advisory Services (Commonwealth funded) mentor, and the Tourism and Visitor Services Sector. She has qualifications with a Masters in Business Administration (Marketing Management), Tourism, Events, Community Development, Project Management and Workplace Training. She believes in making a difference in people’s lives and is an integral member of her local community.

Ross Smith

Business Recovery Adviser for North East of Victoria

Bob Waite

Ross Smith is the Business Recovery Adviser supporting all bushfire impacted businesses in the North East of Victoria. Ross has been a local resident of Yackandandah for over ten years. He has extensive experience and connections in local government economic development and tourism, chambers of commerce and small business. This strong background has seen him engaging with and supporting small businesses across North East Victoria and the NSW border region, delivering key economic development and business recovery projects.

With his past experience as a tourism business owner and operator in Yackandandah, Ross also comes to the position as an Advisor with firsthand knowledge of business recovery challenges following a bushfire and floods. He values community and business engagement as well as building strong relationships. He is an excellent communicator, a great listener and is keen to support business owners to find solutions to meet their unique needs. Ross holds a Bachelor of Business Management (Marketing and Industrial Relations) and has recently completed Mental Health First Aid training.

Michael Anderson

Lead Business Recovery Adviser for East Gippsland

Michael Anderson

Michael is the Lead Business Recovery Adviser. He is a local Johnsonville (East Gippsland) resident providing highly effective support to bushfire impacted businesses in the region. Prior to this, Michael provided support to impacted businesses through his existing role with Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) Gippsland in Small Business Support in 2018. 2019 saw the devastating fires in East Gippsland and North East Victoria. Michael manned the relief centre to assist small business owners in navigating their immediate financial stressors by speaking to banks to halt payments, negotiate financial grants, refer clients to other stakeholders such as mental health, financial counselling Australia (e.g. Anglicare).

Michael’s extensive experience in supporting regional, small businesses stems from being a proprietor of Andersons Business Brokers for 25 years, involved in marketing small businesses throughout country Victoria. Business owners were guided to present their business to maximum potential. Michael helped them to understand their financial position, looking at cash flow peaks and troughs, market competitors, return on investment, lease tenure and marketing. Michael holds Diplomas in professional counselling, property (farm) management and further qualifications in business. He is a Member of the Australian Counselling Association and a Licenced Real Estate Agent (Victoria)

Tom Ponting

Business Recovery Adviser for East Gippsland and Wellington

Tom Ponting

Tom is a local Raymond Island (East Gippsland) resident. He is a highly experienced general manager with a marketing background. Tom’s background and business training has been with large corporate companies: Cadbury Schweppes, Unilever and Target Australia. Tom has had senior roles which have given him both Australian, Chinese, and Southeast Asian management experience. He has run his own consulting business for 20 years. Over the last 10 years he has lived in East Gippsland and supported many local organisations in mentoring and training roles.

Phil East

Business Recovery Adviser for East Gippsland and Wellington

Phil East

Phil is a local Bairnsdale, East Gippsland resident – a 5th Generation ‘East Gippslander’. He has centred his business and career around working with and for East Gippsland businesses as a banker, an accountant and a business and marketing strategist. A business owner himself, Phil helps business owners manage and grow their business. He is enthusiastic about helping local business owners recover to a future even better than they may ever have expected.

Grant Pugh

Business Recovery Adviser for East Gippsland and Wellington

Grant Pugh

Grant is a local Paynesville (East Gippsland) resident and highly experienced local business adviser. With a degree in Business Management and qualifications in Accounting and Marketing, he has helped start, manage and grow over a hundred businesses. Grant has worked with a wide range of businesses, including tech firms, agriculture businesses, hospitality and retail businesses. As a local who grew up in East Gippsland, he has a good understanding of the challenges that can be faced and is excited to help local business owners recover and look to the future.