Following this month’s devastating bushfires that tore through the Lamington National Park and left nothing more than ashes of the many of the historic Binna Burra Lodge buildings, hope prevails for those closest to the landmark establishment.

While humans rarely have any control over the onset and impact of natural disasters on their property, there are precautionary business measures that should be implemented to protect people, businesses and property from the disaster and allow for swift recovery efforts and the subsequent clean up and rebuild.

Arabon provide a full outsourced accounting service to the Binna Burra Lodge operation including bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and business advisory services.  As all their financial information was stored in the cloud and physically protected from any natural disaster scenario, within one day of this tragedy, the business has been able to set up a temporary office with staff and accounting functions operable within two.  Situations like this one highlight the utmost importance of having disaster and business continuity plans in place that are tailored to that business’ unique circumstances.

The Binna Burra business is an unlisted public company with a board of directors and over 850 shareholders.  The company was fully prepared for disaster impact including having a risk management plan, fire management plan and a business continuity plan in place should they ever need it; in this instance where no one was able to predict nor expect this situation to occur, the team were prepared.  The highly trained staff working on site that day were empowered to make decisions in the event of an evacuation.  Without any formal warnings from authorities, the staff made the decision to evacuate the properties and leave the mountain.  Within one hour of the final staff leaving site, the one access road was blocked with no way in or out.  Frightening.

Arabon was able to tap into their cloud-based accounting systems to ensure the immediate transfer of data to commence communications and reporting with banks, insurers, the ATO and Office of State Revenue.  It also ensured the continuity of staff payments and benefits.  This quick-footed approach ensures the company will be able to access concessions and exemptions where possible, provide information and financials immediately to the bank and authorities to expedite processes so recovery efforts can be started almost immediately.

As of Thursday, there is no physical access available to assess, clean or secure the site.  With bushfires still raging in the area and winds forecast to pick up again later in the week, Binna Burra is not out of the disaster zone just yet.  The campground, tea house, pottery shed, barn and Groom’s Cottage all survived the fires and the company hope to have these businesses up and running again as soon as possible.

Friends of Binna Burra Lodge has opened a Go Fund Me page where members of the public are invited to donate to the reconstruction efforts.

Once the area is eventually cleaned up and safe to access, a call for public volunteers will be made to assist with the recovery effort.  We will keep our clients informed when this opportunity is made available.  The Binna Burra Lodge website is also a valuable source of information as the situation and circumstances evolve.