South Australian premier to lead tourism recovery effort following bushfires

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-13 08:48:27|Editor: zyl
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CANBERRA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) - The Premier of South Australia (SA) has installed himself as the state's Tourism Minister to help "rebuild the economy" following devastating bushfires.

Steven Marshall, who was elected premier in 2018, has announced that he will replace incumbent Tourism Minister David Ridgway as SA recovers from the fires on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills.

Three people have died in the two major fires, which began late in December.

More than a third of Kangaroo Island, the wildlife on which is one of SA's major tourist attractions, has been burnt and half of the island's 50,000 koalas are feared dead.

While touring affected areas at the weekend Marshall said that bushfire recovery in tourism hotspots would be the major focus of his government.

"When these fires go out, it's not like we're going to be walking away - in fact, that's when all the hard work begins to try and rebuild the economy," he said.

"As I said to the Prime Minister last week, Kangaroo Island is a pretty special place.

"From an economic recovery prospective, we have two major sectors on the island, agriculture and tourism, and they've both been hit."

Tourism is worth 7.6 billion Australian dollars (5.2 billion U.S. dollars) to the SA economy every year.

Marshall's government on Sunday revealed that 32,000 livestock animals, mostly sheep, and hundreds of beehives perished in fires on the island.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) is still working to contain the fires, which were expected to be exacerbated by forecast worsening conditions on Monday.