New role to help in economic rebuild after fires

The burned out remains of the visitor information centre in the Flinders Chase National Park. The building was destroyed on January 3.
The burned out remains of the visitor information centre in the Flinders Chase National Park. The building was destroyed on January 3.

A new role has been created to help coordinate the rebuild of the Kangaroo Island and Adelaide Hills economies and communities in the wake of devastating bushfires.

Margot Forster will immediately take on the position of 'State Lead Disaster Rebuilding and Resilience' and will be responsible for driving a comprehensive strategy to rebuild the economic and social infrastructure that underpin these communities.

Ms Forster, who comes into the role following a 38-year military and defence industries career, will focus on ensuring there is an integrated rebuild of both KI and Adelaide Hills communities.

"I'm honoured to have been asked by the state government to implement a blueprint for the economic and social rebuild of the Adelaide Hills and KI communities in the wake of the devastating bushfires," Ms Forster said.

"It's vital that the rebuild restores and strengthens the economic and social infrastructure of KI and Adelaide Hills to enhance the communities resilience to future threats.

"An important task will be engaging directly with the affected communities to understand the priorities and expectations for their future social and economic infrastructure."

As part of her role, Ms Forster will work closely with the Premier, senior government officials, local recovery coordinators and key industry stakeholders.

She will oversee coordination of federal, state and local government funds and liaise with major non-government donors to support rebuilding in both regions.

Premier Steven Marshall said Ms Forster's appointment was crucial to facilitate KI and Adelaide Hills' economic and social recovery.

"KI and the Adelaide Hills communities are dealing with extraordinary tragedy and loss right now - but SA is rallying behind them and we will be with them every step of the way," he said.

"You only need to drive through some of our Adelaide Hills towns or look at an aerial view of KI too see the immense impact to our communities - the rebuild task ahead is huge.

"There will be many ideas as to how best to assist the economic and social rebuild of the affected communities and Margot Foster will have an important role in assessing the viability of those suggestions.

"It's critical we ensure our regions get the help and support they need to be back up and running and come back stronger than ever before."

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