Small businesses key to flood recovery

SMALL business is an essential part of any regional town's recovery from floods and fires, a major research project has revealed.

The final report of the Regional Australia Institute's analysis of four community's recovery was released on Wednesday.

It assessed the recovery of Emerald and Cardwell from floods and cyclones, as well as two other towns ravaged by fires several years ago.

The study showed the key part of long-term recovery was a resilient small business sector, which also helped the emotional recovery of residents.

However, it found a "lack of funding for small business recovery" reflected a lack of appreciation for the sector, particularly in small towns relying on local jobs.

It also found those towns with a more diverse economic base and better pay rates had a better recovery overall.

"The distinctions drawn between community recovery and business recovery, and the seeming lack of focus on business recovery miss the vitally important link between the two areas," the report reads.

"Community recovery will not occur without business recovery.

"In the absence of an adapted and functioning economy, a disaster impacted region will remain in a state of post-disaster dysfunction."

The study also identified the key role local councils play in disaster recovery, and the need for councils to work with the community to prepare for, and recover from disasters.