Vouchers delivered to businesses affected by the bushfires have lifted spirits and provided much needed help as many also confront the impacts of the COVID-19 shutdown.

BizRebuild – the bushfire recovery arm of the Business Council of Australia – visited the Island in early March and worked with the island’s three industry associations to distribute the $2000 Re-Tooling vouchers and the $500 Advisory Services vouchers.

Mick Geursen with voucher.

Thirty each of the vouchers – a total of $75,000 in assistance – were distributed by the Kangaroo Island Business and Brand Alliance (KIBBA), the Kangaroo Island Tourism Food Wine and Beverages Association (KITFWBA) and AgKI.

The $2000 vouchers have assisted those who lost property and tools from the fires. The Advisory vouchers have been spread more widely to businesses indirectly affected by the fires.

Mick Geursen of Kangaroo Island Beekeeping Company received one of the Re-Tooling vouchers. His hives and working areas at Hanson Bay were destroyed in the fires.

He said the voucher, along with other help he had received, had been the difference between getting his business back and up and running or packing it in.

“The generosity of people… it just helps you get out of bed in the morning and face the re-building.”

KIBBA chairman Brett Miller said the very real, immediate and practical assistance from BizRebuild had been greatly appreciated.

“It’s just very generous and the process was not onerous. It is exhausting for people to have to keep re-telling their story, filling in more forms and so on. BizRebuild trusted the associations to just get these vouchers out there,” he said.

Applications for more vouchers are available at the Recovery Centre in Parndana.