This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 8 March 2021.

“I remember being in Coles on January 5, 2020, with very little power, no dairy, no meat, no frozen foods and very little in the way of pasta or tinned vegetables,” a Batemans Bay resident told the Business Council of Australia last week.

It was the height of the devastating bushfires.

“We came straight from the evacuation centre covered in ash and were so grateful that John (Appleby) and a few staff members were there so we could get some food.” The woman posted her thanks on the site dedicated to the BCA’s Biggies award for civic contributions — a site that has seen high levels of engagement since public voting for the “people’s choice” award opened last week.

The Biggies finalists — four individuals and seven companies — are profiled on the Biggies website, with the public invited to vote for their favourites.