Australia — The Kangaroo Island Bushfire Recovery Group met for the second time on Monday and resisted the idea of a bushfire recovery fund to accept donations.
State Recovery Office director Ronnie Faggotter experienced the donations issue after the Eyre Peninsula fires in 2005.
She told the meeting the donation of goods was fraught with danger and the administration of an appeal fund was a complex business.
She said with the CFS she had formulated responses to the well-meaning people who rang offering goods and donations.
If they want to support the CFS we encourage them to donate to their local group. If they offer goods we seek their details and tell them we will contact them if needed.
If they ask how they can help the people of Kangaroo Island we have told them to come over and visit to support the tourism industry, she said.
On the issue of farmers needs, the Kingscote Primary Industries office has established a register to match local donations with local requirements for farmers affected by the fires.
The meeting of about 30 people from KI and mainland agencies covered a broad range of topics about information, counselling, the activities of each agency and how to make things like help for farmers and tourism businesses happen quickly.
Kangaroo Island Mayor Jayne Bates said the meetings were to make sure no one fell through the gaps, that resources were best used and that agencies knew what each other was doing.
One of the major issues raised was the tourism industry; the outlook for business owners and especially the many casual workers employed in that sector who might be affected by the fires and the slowdown in tourism that might eventuate.
Tourism KI marketing manager Tania ONeil said a long-term media campaign would be launched this week on the KI OK theme to encourage tourists to keep their bookings.
Exceptional KI tour operator Craig Wickham said it was important to keep the information flowing to potential customers and operators should remind themselves of the many tourist experiences available outside Flinders Chase in the short-term.
Ms ONeil said locals should be ambassadors for the island rather than talking it down in the wake of the fires.
Both Tourism KI and the KI Development Board were surveying operators and businesses about the impact of the bushfires on their businesses to make a case for government support.