Volunteer organisation BlazeAid will receive a quarter of a million dollars from the South Australian Government to help rebuild infrastructure following the recent devastating bushfires on Kangaroo Island.
The funding boost will be used to subsidise ferry fares from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island for volunteers who complete at least five days of service on the island over the next 12 months.
Volunteers will work to rebuild vital farm fencing that was destroyed in the bushfires, which have affected more than 211,000 hectares.
SA Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said the funding boost would alleviate some financial pressure for BlazeAid volunteers heading to Kangaroo Island.
“For farmers affected by bushfires right across the state and nation, BlazeAid provides a priceless service helping the community get back on their feet,” Lensink said.
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“This funding boost recognises the valuable work these volunteers are already doing to support the Kangaroo Island farming communities and ensures that longer-term support to help the island get back on track continues in the weeks and months ahead.
“BlazeAid volunteers provide a much-needed fence rebuilding service that allows landholders to quickly secure their remaining stock and repair damaged fencing far more quickly than if they were working alone.”
Lensink took the opportunity to thank all volunteers who had helped in the bushfire recovery effort right across SA.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and dig deep in times of need,” Lensink said.
“Thank you to each and every person who has volunteered following the state’s recent devastating bushfires and to those who will do so in the weeks and months ahead.”
BlazeAid Co-Founder and President Kevin Butler welcomed the funding boost and said up to 4000 BlazeAid volunteers were expected to aid the island over the next year.
“We have a diverse volunteer base, from wheat farmers to Danish firefighters, and this will allow them to contribute to the island holistically while also supporting local business,” Butler said.
“It’s a win for all involved – from the BlazeAid volunteers themselves and the Kangaroo Island farmers who will benefit from the work, to the local businesses who will welcome volunteers through their doors and the broader community recovery.