The Queensland Government aids flood recovery at diesel shop

The Rocklea Group was one of many businesses affected by the 2011 floods

On Wednesday 12 January 2011, the directors of The Rocklea Group were forced to evacuate their premises as the suburb had been inundated with flood waters.

Walter Vrbancic and Susan and David Stollznow arrived at the workshop on Friday morning to find that although flood waters had started to recede, a thick layer of mud covered the workshop floor and had caused extensive damage to equipment and fixtures. The owners were devastated, however Queensland’s community spirit convinced them to battle through the difficult times ahead.

The impediments to getting back to business were significant, including loss of power and phones and uninhabitable offices. The repair bill amounted to $300,000 as mud and oil covered everything on the property. Many tools were either destroyed or in need of significant repair.

In the days and weeks following the flood, The Rocklea Group was overwhelmed with assistance from 70-80 volunteers. However, the recovery effort was not yet over. It was timely that Walter was invited to take part in the Queensland Government’s ’Cash flow out of crisis’ breakfast seminar, which highlighted the challenges facing organisaons in the flood recovery effort.

After the seminar, Walter was introduced to a series of business support programs provided collaboratively by the Queensland Government. The Rocklea Group undertook the ‘Queensland Made to Last’ initiative, delivered by QMI Soluons to assist manufacturers affected by the floods and Cyclone Yasi. The program paired businesses with experienced manufacturing consultants to provide them with a business counselling service and workshops for a thorough operational check up.

The workshops provided a strategic focus on manufacturing principles to improve company performance. Workshops also covered operational improvements of its processes. The lean manufacturing workshop demonstrated the potential benefits of implementing world-class manufacturing practices.

The Rocklea Group also participated in the Queensland Government Flood and Cyclone Recovery and Jobs Assist programs which were designed to help businesses impacted by natural disasters to recover and position themselves for future growth.

Through the program, the company learnt of practical solutions that other businesses had used in similar situations in the past.

For the company directors, the programs supported innovative thinking and showed them how to achieve measurable results in profitability and productivity. Their staff were also inspired by the change, going above and beyond to ensure the business flourished.

The programs helped The Rocklea Group achieve:

  • a comprehensive business review;
  • improved strategic plan;
  • targeted business continuity plan;
  • development of a Brisbane City Council Green Licence Pollution Prevention Plan, and
  • renewed confidence to consider and use external expertise

The Rocklea Group returned their business to full operations only six months after the floods with the help of the Queensland community and the Queensland Government's Business Support programs.

On January 2012, the company commemorated the 12 month anniversary of the floods with a flag-raising ceremony - an event televised by Channel 7 to demonstrate the courage, resilience and strength in adversity of Queensland's small businesses.

The Rocklea Group are now looking at opportunities within the resources sector with the help of the Queensland Government.