BlazeAid will receive a $250,000 funding boost from the State Government, allowing thousands of volunteers to continue rebuilding vital farm fencing that was destroyed in the recent devastating bushfire on Kangaroo Island.
The funding boost will be used to subsidise ferry fares from Cape Jervis to Kangaroo Island for BlazeAid volunteers who complete at least five days of service on the island over the next 12 months.
The Kangaroo Island fires impacted more than 211,000 hectares, much of which was farmland. BlazeAid volunteers are already on the island repairing damaged fencing.
Minister for Human Services 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,” said Minister Lensink.
“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.”
Minister 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,” said Minister Lensink.
“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,” said Mr Butler.
“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.
“There is great interest from our volunteers to support the local economy, so I expect to see many of them working for the five days to qualify for the free fare, and then spend a couple of days touring the island.”
For the latest information on South Australian bushfire recovery, see www.dhs.sa.gov.au/recovery