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(Australian Associated Press)
Governor-General David Hurley has encouraged tourists to keep visiting fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island in a bid to bolster its economy.
Australia’s representative to the Queen toured the South Australian island on Tuesday after large parts, including most of the Flinders Chase National Park, were destroyed by bushfire last week.
“Kangaroo Island is not completely closed to tourists coming back here, spending money and coming, using the facilities here,” he told reporters.
“While the primary industry income will be down, tourism can help resurrect (it).
“Get out here, put money into the tourist industry directly – that would be a good thing to do.”
So far the island fire has burnt more than 155,000 hectares inside a 320-kilometre perimeter with many homes and other buildings feared lost.
It has claimed two lives with outback pilot Dick Lang, 78, and his 43-year-old son Clayton Lang killed when their car became trapped by flames near Parndana.
Mr Hurley toured fire grounds in Victoria’s east earlier this week, and has received a message of condolence from the Queen during Australia’s bushfire crisis.
While on Kangaroo Island he met with families who were affected by the bushfire, and said mental health care would be a “big issue” in the aftermath.
“People are very much traumatised at the moment … they’re uncertain about what’s going to happen,” he said.
“That’s a message for people around the country – put your hand up if you need help.”