BlazeAid: KI ferry subsidies will 'provide an incentive'

BlazeAid: KI ferry subsidies will 'provide an incentive'

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VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED: Kangaroo Island BlazeAid coordinators Greg and Ann Stevens. Mr Stevens said the funding injection would be helpful to help persuade people to visit the island.

VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED: Kangaroo Island BlazeAid coordinators Greg and Ann Stevens. Mr Stevens said the funding injection would be helpful to help persuade people to visit the island.

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Volunteers travelling to Kangaroo Island to assist BlazeAid with clean-up efforts in the wake of recent bushfires will have their ferry fees subsidised, thanks to a joint federal and state funding injection of $250,000 to the organisation.

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Kangaroo Island BlazeAid coordinator Greg Stevens said the funding injection of $250,000 to the organisation would be helpful for getting volunteers across to the island.

The money is part of a community recovery and resilience package being jointly rolled out by the state and federal government.

BlazeAid will use the money to pay half the return fare for vehicles, trailers and caravans on the ferry, after all occupants of the vehicle have spent at least five days within the next 12 months volunteering with BlazeAid on KI.

"The BlazeAid volunteer base has traditionally been grey nomad type people, who are on the road for at least a few months of the year, and these people don't have a whole lot of disposable income - if they have to spend $600 to get their van onto the island, they will baulk at it," he said.

The volunteers are great for the economy on the island as well. - GREG STEVENS

Since the KI recovery effort began on January 18, about 300 BlazeAid volunteers have helped out on KI, putting in 1315 volunteer days. So far, 578 kilometres of damaged fencing has been taken down, and 20km of fencelines erected.

Up to to 4000 BlazeAid volunteers are expected to visit the island during the next 12 months, and Mr Stevens said the funding will be used "fairly rapidly".

"The funding won't last 12 months, but it will certainly get us going and then we can look for more benefactors to continue the work," he said.

He said the extra presence on KI would provide benefits beyond recovery and repair.

"We've got to feed these volunteers, and put diesel in their cars, so the volunteers are great for the economy on the island as well," he said.

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