A mining billionaire has announced he will donate $70 million to bushfire-affected communities.
Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest told reporters on Thursday he’s donating millions to help rebuild communities in South Australia, Victoria and NSW through the Minderoo Foundation.
“We are here with our family to help support your family,” Mr Forrest told reporters.
“I would just like to say, on behalf of all of the Minderoo Foundation and all West Australians, that we weep along with Australia, along with you and, as a family and as a foundation, we would like to step up and help you.”
According to the Minderoo Foundation, the $70 million will be spent across three different areas.
“We’ve committed to mobilise volunteers from Western Australia to assist operations and relief efforts in Victoria, NSW and South Australia,” a statement on Facebook reads.
“We’ve allocated $10 million of initial funding to restore essential infrastructure, hubs, and community assets to rebuild communities and revitalise local economies.
“We’re building long term resilience by convening leading experts to develop a globally relevant national blueprint for fire and disaster relief.”
Comedian raises more than $47 million
Comedian Celeste Barber has helped raise more than $47 million for bushfire relief through Facebook.
Barber also called out Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart asking her to contribute.
“[Ms Rinehart] is most concerned that the true causes of this sad devastation are tackled, rather than missed in the rush to blame climate change,” a spokesperson for Rinehart told Yahoo Lifestyle.
She called for strict rules surrounding preparation for bushfires to be eased.
“In particular, restrictions on building dams are lifted, the dangerous restrictions on allowing adequate fire breaks and restrictions on land clearing, which regulations have helped to cause life and stock losses, property damage, and damage to livelihoods and much suffering,” the statement said.
The statement comes after fellow Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes called Ms Ginehart’s $4.5 million donation to the Institute of Public Affairs, which has been branded a “climate sceptic thinktank”, was “absolutely shameful”.
Others have also agreed to donate to bushfire recovery.
The Paul Ramsay Foundation responded by pledging a remarkable $30 million.
Set up by Australian private hospital tycoon and renowned philanthropist Paul Ramsay in 2006, the foundation, which works with disadvantaged Australians, said it has been “struck by the generosity of thousands of Australians and people around the world.”
“Today the foundation set aside $30million to support communities affected by the bushfires,” they said in a statement on Wednesday.
Metal band Metallica also announced on Wednesday they were donating A$750,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service and to the Country Fire Authority in Victoria.
The band added on their Twitter page they were “overwhelmed” by news of the bushfires and their widespread devastation.
We are totally overwhelmed by the news of the wildfires sweeping through millions of acres across Australia, with major impact in New South Wales and Victoria. (1/6) pic.twitter.com/XqJAHmN6um
— Metallica (@Metallica) January 8, 2020
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