Celeste Barber to meet lawyers over $52m bushfire donations
Staggering monies raised may not get to communities hardest hit without a solution.
Lawyers will meet to try to break a deadlock over the $52m raised in bushfire relief funds by Celeste Barber’s Facebook campaign.
Barber originally directed funds to the NSW RFS Brigades Donations Fund, but was unaware money sent to this fund is only used on training, resources and fire equipment – not the volunteers and their families or fire-affected communities.
The $52million has been transferred from GoFundMe to a trust fund run by the RFS – but none of it has been spent.
While Barber initially pledged to the NSW RFS and Brigades Donation Fund, she quickly changed the terms of her appeal to take into account other states battling the devastating bushfires.
She widened the appeal and wanted to share the money with Victorian and South Australian firefighting agencies, animal welfare group WIRES, the Red Cross and the widows of fallen firefighters.
Spokesman Ben Shepherd insisted the RFS wanted to honour her wishes.
“No one is being bad about this, it’s all very amicable, and we will try and see her wishes through. But, as it stands, the RFS is the beneficiary and we can’t donate money people gave us to other charities,” he said.
Barber’s fundraiser broke a world record by becoming the single largest hosted on Facebook globally.
Barber hosts today’s Fire Fight Australia concert, seen on Seven and Foxtel.
Source: Sunday Telegraph