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4 min read

Funding Australia’s Bushfire Response: Kangaroo Island update

Kangaroo Island is an area particularly devastated by the recent fires. Recovery efforts are particularly difficult for this small community of less than 5000 people, which is uniquely challenged in many ways, from the asbestos-laden rubble leftover by the fires to the rare Ligurian bees that call the island home and birds such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo and Western Whipbird.

Many of the larger fundraising appeals are limited in how they can support individuals impacted by fire. There will be financial support for those who have lost physical possessions (homes, cars, farms, etc.) but not for those who are now without jobs because the business burnt down or is reliant on tourism.

Below is a selection of funding opportunities that are specifically connected with Kangaroo Island and the unique challenges the community there faces.

Island Care Inc

Immediate relief

Island Care is a grassroots organisation that is providing direct support for people who have lost their source of income. This includes purchasing food, clothes and vouchers for local shops.

For the last two weeks I’ve been asking where possible what are the most worrying things for the people in our community that have been fire affected. (Not just the people that have been burned out but all affected in some way by the fires.) Because we have many families coming in every day, I was able to get a lot of feedback, and I have to say it is quite a concern. This is the feedback from over 80 families.

It’s all very well to be insured, but you are not insured for income.

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It’s so important to keep the help available. It is a source of hope and comfort, that they can come in and feel like there is tangible and ready help immediately available. Even if it’s just a bag of rice. It’s immediate and fills a need. Or the packet of Tim Tams or Chocolate that never fails to bring a smile.

The amount of older members of our community that will be living in tents during winter is especially of concern.

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Fay Fuller Foundation

Mental health support and immediate relief

The Fay Fuller Foundation has committed to a ten-year mental health program as part of an expansion of the multi-million dollar Our Town initiative. Our Town differs from other mental health initiatives as it is not about putting additional services in place or recruiting new mental health professionals. The initiative seeks to fund and empower rural and regional communities to build sustainable internal capability to meet the mental health challenges their communities face.

The Foundation is a Private Ancillary Fund but has DGR1 partners on this project: “Walking alongside this community to help build and design approaches to mental health will be The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI), Clear Horizon Consulting and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).”

Across 10 years this will be a collaborative approach where each organisation will play a pivotal role in partnering with communities to surface the valuable lived experience and local knowledge to guide this emergent process.

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Maree Baldwin from the Kangaroo Island Community Centre (KICC) helped to galvanise the Kangaroo Island application for the Fay Fuller Foundation program. The KICC is part of Junction Australia and has DGR1 status. Immediate homelessness relief is a key focus at the moment, as a lot of locals cannot afford the holiday rentals in the region!

Country Education Foundation of Australia

Education and living expenses

The Country Education Foundation of Australia has a dedicated Kangaroo Island fund. This organisation is absolutely essential for those kids whose parents might be facing NO possibility of sending them to university or Tafe; or even Year 11 and 12 this year.

Donations to this fund will be extremely valuable to local kids and their families.