Department of Human Services

Kangaroo Island Fire Recovery Newsletter Issue 5 - 3 April 2020

Welcome to the new Kangaroo Island Local Recovery Coordinator, Rob Manton

The next phase of Kangaroo Island's community-led recovery and rebuilding process will be led by Rob Manton.

Rob brings extensive skills gained from his experience as Director of Veterans SA, his planning and operations work with Defence, and most recently as Liaison and Outreach with the State

Government's Disaster Rebuilding and Resilience team.

He is a former military officer with over 30 years of service. During his early military career, Rob held a range of appointments predominantly in command and leadership positions. His final appointment was as the Military Advisor at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York in 2008, a position he held until his transition from the Australian Defence Force in 2011.

A keen golfer and North Melbourne football club supporter, Rob will be based on KI and is looking forward to getting to know the island’s great community - you will be hearing a lot more from him in coming days and weeks. Rob can be reached on 0435 568 170.

How to get in touch

We are changing the way we deliver bushfire recovery community events and meetings, with community gatherings postponed until further notice. Recovery support has not stopped, however, nor has the focus on hearing from you to help plan your recovery. Now, more than ever, we are available to address any concerns you may have. Make sure you reach out to use the assistance available and ask any questions or provide feedback – details overleaf.

A list of contacts is on page six of this newsletter and you can also:

Bushfire recovery efforts will continue

Margot Forster was recently appointed State Bushfire Recovery Coordinator, in addition to her role as State Lead, Disaster Rebuilding and Resilience. Margot recently penned a letter to the community highlighting the State Government’s unwavering commitment to bushfire recovery, not just for months but for years to come. See the complete letter below:

Dear Kangaroo Island Community,

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt strongly across the world right now, and it is also changing the way we recover and rebuild in the wake of the bushfires. 

Let me assure you that while we may be changing the way we work to reduce face-to-face contact, we are absolutely committed to continuing to support affected people, communities and businesses. 

As the State Bushfire Recovery Coordinator, I will remain focused on you and your needs. 

Regular recovery activities like providing temporary housing, cleaning up damaged properties and providing mental health support are not slowing down. We are continuing to monitor our Recovery Centres and while we may need to reduce face-to-face services, there will always be someone available to help you – this may be over the phone, or online. 

The task to rebuild is significant and will take years, not months. We are in this for the long haul, and we will be here to support you regardless of what else is happening in the world. 
To rebuild, we are looking at all the aspects of affected communities, including their economies, business and skills bases, infrastructure, environment, and mental health and wellbeing. 
We will continue to work with you to design a plan that encompasses all these things and provides a roadmap that will return our communities to thriving regional hubs. 

Most importantly, everyone involved in the rebuild effort is committed to working together to get the best outcomes for you and for our State. This includes the State Government, Commonwealth Government, local councils and all the non-government partners who are dedicated to helping you get through this. 

I am working closely with the Local Recovery Coordinators, who will continue to be the primary point of contact in your region. I am pleased to let you know that Rob Manton has been appointed as Kangaroo Island Local Recovery Coordinator to drive the next phase of the Island’s community-led recovery and rebuilding process.

Kind regards,
Margot Forster, CSM
State Bushfire Recovery Coordinator
Government of South Australia

COVID-19 (coronavirus)

This is a challenging time for many. The advice from government in response to the COVID-19 virus has made us all rethink the way we interact within the recovery space.

There are things we can all do to minimise the risk of spread:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others, especially if you are unwell. As at 30 March, gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed in South Australia, provided that social distancing guidelines are adhered to, although limiting the number of people gathering to two is encouraged.
  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least twenty seconds, using soap.
  • If you are unable to access soap, use hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Wipe down frequently touched surfaces.

For more information on minimising risk, visit

If you experience any of the following symptoms —

  • fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath

— isolate yourself and contact your GP for advice.
If you are having difficulty breathing, immediately call 000.

Where to find COVID-19 information

  • Visit
  • There is a dedicated South Australian COVID-19 Information Hotline. Phone 1800 253 787 between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
  • There is also a dedicated SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line - phone 1800 632 753.

Webinar with Dr Rob Gordon

Headshot of Dr. Rob Gordon.Clinical psychologist Dr Rob Gordon has spent the past 35 years working with people affected by emergencies and disasters.

Join Dr Gordon for a webinar via Zoom to talk about how we recover from bushfire while responding to COVID-19.

Tuesday 7 April 2020, 2pm to 4pm.

He will discuss what to expect in the longer term and answer some of your questions.

Register at

Send your questions for Dr Gordon to

Numbers are limited so book early to ensure your place.

The session will be recorded, so if you can’t make this time don’t worry – we will share a link to the recording, once available, through the newsletter and the Kangaroo Island Fire Recovery Facebook group.

Waste removal


As at 2 April, Green Industries had cleared and levelled 56 properties, with these sites now ready for rebuilding. The pace of clean-up will be picking up further; 90 properties have been scheduled for clean-up in April and 66 in May. It is expected that clean-up will be completed within the next couple of months.

At the date of publication, $4.2 million has been committed or spent on bushfire waste management on Kangaroo Island.

If you haven't already registered your clean-up and waste needs, there is still time. For details or to get further information about progress visit

Waste removal schedule

An initial schedule for bushfire clean-up has been released, with a map of the fire-affected area showing colour-coded properties to indicate when clean-up of sites can be expected.

The schedule is based on the best information at hand. Green Industries SA invites residents to contact them if they have pressing needs or specific requirements.

Anabel Douglass-Hill at her property on South Coast Road, one of 156 currently in progress for bushfire clean-up.
Anabel Douglass-Hill at her property on South Coast Road, one of 156 currently in progress for bushfire clean-up.
The schedule will be updated weekly, as new information is received.

You can find the map on the Green Industries SA website at:

  • KI Council, Kingscote
  • KI Community Services Centre, Kingscote
  • Drake’s supermarket, Kingscote
  • Rabbit Warren Bakery, Kingscote
  • Stokes Bay café
  • Parndana Recovery Centre
  • Davo's Deli, Parndana
  • Vivonne Bay store
  • Western Districts Footy Club, Gosse

To discuss scheduling contact clean-up coordinator Mike Ford on 0467 601 738.

All Hands and Hearts

As mentioned in Issue #4 of this newsletter, All Hands and Hearts has regretfully suspended their field operations worldwide amid concerns about COVID-19 (coronavirus).  Their Australian Program Director, Sarah Boulle, has written a letter to the community about this decision:

To the Kangaroo Island Community,

We came to Kangaroo Island with a plan to mobilize a volunteer force to work alongside the community on the immense bushfire recovery efforts. Sadly, on 11th March the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. The WHO predicts the virus will continue to spread, and organizations and individuals have been urged to take unprecedented action to slow the spread of the virus.

In an effort to comply with guidance from the WHO and other public health experts, as of Friday 13th March, All Hands and Hearts suspended all global field operations, including Kangaroo Island, for at least the next two months. Unfortunately, this meant we were unable to launch our volunteer program on March 16, as had been planned since February. Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of the communities we serve, our staff, and our volunteers. We feel it would be irresponsible to risk exposing the community, or furthering the spread of the coronavirus, by continuing normal operations. And while we are saddened to be leaving when so much work remains to be done, we could not risk doing harm to those we aim to serve.

It is our aim to follow through with assisting with bushfire recovery on Kangaroo Island, and we will monitor the situation to continually assess when we can safely resume work. We wish you well over the coming months. Thank you to everyone who has welcomed us into your community and helped us prepare for a volunteer program. We look forward to the opportunity to return and get back to work alongside the community.

We hope to see you soon.


Sarah Boulle (Australia Program Director)

Grants and support

If you lost your home, other assets or income in the fires, and have not applied for assistance, please get in touch. There is money available across a range of grants, from government and others, with new funding still being released. Please don’t assume you might not be eligible.

Even if you have already applied for something, contact Rob Manton or the Recovery Centre to discuss what is available.

Call Rob on 0435 568 170

Call the Recovery Centre on 0438 861 215


New grant available

The Wyatt Trust, based in Adelaide, administers a charitable trust to assist South Australians in financial hardship purchase essential services and equipment. This year, The Wyatt Trust is offering specific grants to households impacted by the bushfires in SA.

Anyone who needs assistance replacing essential equipment lost in the fire or assistance for essential goods and services are invited to apply for up to $1,000 towards the expense of the item or service. You must be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the fires to be eligible.

If you think you may be eligible, or to find out further information, please contact the Recovery Centre on 0438 861 215. Please do not contact The Wyatt Trust directly.

Rotary SA Bushfire Recovery Relief Fund

Rotary International, through Rotary Australia World Community Service and Rotary Australia Benevolent Society, has established a National Bushfire Relief Fund. South Australia also has an allocation of funds from many Rotary Clubs from within Australia and Internationally, some foundations, trusts and individual donors.

Rotary provides a second response to assist communities recognising that other major organisation are usually first responders such a Red Cross, State Disaster Fund, Vinnies, Salvation Army and such similar funds.

Projects already funded by Rotary have include shoes for students at the Parndana School (purchased locally on KI) and funding a Rotary Club that will complete fencing work with a Rotary Fully Equipped Trailer and sponsored towing vehicle in April of this year. Rotary also have a substantial focused fund for the transport of fodder.

The key purpose of the fund is to provide items required for recovery from the bushfires. The committee will consider requests for items that the community has lost and needs replacing. Individual families or groups may apply.

Initial contact and potential projects can be at this time directed to Rotarian Les Dennis, Co-Chair of the Rotary SA Bushfire Recovery Committee – preferably by email to, post to Les Dennis, PO Box 147 Collinswood SA 5081, or call 0408 813 966.

Small business information

Looking for consolidated information on what support is available for small businesses in South Australia in response to COVID-19?

Visit the website:

Subscribe to an e-newsletter covering new announcements, advice, general information, webinars and other resources:

$10,000 small business grant

The South Australian and Australian governments have announced a Small Business Bushfire Support Grant of up to $10,000 to support eligible small businesses (including primary producers) who experienced significant loss of income due to the fire. Find out more at

There are also some significant business loans on offer. For more detailed information and guidelines visit

Alternatively contact the Recovery Centre in person or phone 0438 861 215.

Planning and building assessment

You can now access the new Bushfire Recovery Planning and Building Assessment Program. This provides a range of exemptions and streamlined pathways for rebuild activities including demolition, temporary storage, temporary accommodation, and new building construction to help affected communities get back on their feet.

As part of the program, a Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit is assisting people with preparing and lodging applications, as well as guiding them through the assessment process from start to finish.

The Unit has been established by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure in collaboration with the Country Fire Service and affected councils, and can be contacted on (08) 7109 7060 or via email at

The ‘Planning and Building Assessment Fact Sheet’ is available from the Recovery Centre, the council, or on the SA Planning Portal at

The fact sheet outlines the State Government’s approved amendments to the ‘Development Regulations’. This webpage also provides an overview of the new amendments.

Communities engaged in rebuild efforts are encouraged to contact the Planning and Building Recovery Unit or their council for more information.

Aboriginal Heritage

Aboriginal heritage is protected – even after bushfire. Aboriginal heritage sites, objects and remains in South Australia are protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988. While bushfire may impact or obscure Aboriginal heritage, it can also result in greater visibility of Aboriginal sites in the landscape. Post-fire erosional processes can affect the integrity of known or undiscovered Aboriginal sites. If you need to:

  • undertake ground disturbance
  • clear fire breaks
  • back burn

you should first submit an online search request via Taa wika to manage any risk of impact to reported or determined Aboriginal sites at

To discuss Aboriginal heritage issues inKangaroo Island’s fire-impacted areas, please contact:

Matt Schlitz, Principal Heritage Officer

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation

Phone: 08 8303 0752



Phone Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation on 1800 127 001


Join our Facebook Group

We have a dedicated Facebook group for people impacted by the Kangaroo Island fires. This private group is for those directly impacted by the fires rather than the general public.

It is a place to ask questions, share information and resources, and connect with your local community during the recovery phase. To join visit

Fire Recovery Newsletters

If you would like to receive your local community Fire Recovery Newsletter via email, subscribe now using the button below

or by visiting this website:

Community Reference Group Contacts

Social, health and wellbeing

Bob Teasdale
Phone  0448 635 009

Environment and Natural Resources

Andrew Heinrich
Phone 0427 596 108

Economic (tourism)

Jeanette Gellard
Phone 0429 990 063

Economic (primary production)

Shirley Pledge
Phone  0427 041 787


Graham Walkom
Phone 0452 286 238

Disaster expert Dr Rob Gordon is joining us for a webinar to talk about how we recover from bushfire while responding to COVID-19. Join us to hear him discuss what to expect in the longer term and answer some of your questions.  7th April 2020 2:30 to 4:30pm  Online via Zoom - Please register

A bit overwhelmed?

A bit overwhelmed? Call Lifeline (Bushfire Assist) on 13 43 57 for referral to the correct help.

Page last updated : 08 Apr 2020

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