09/01/2020 - 15:08

Minderoo pledges $70m bushfire response

09/01/2020 - 15:08

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Andrew and Nicola Forrest's Minderoo Foundation has committed $70 million to Australia's bushfire response, far exceeding the contributions made by big companies across the country.

Andrew Forrest (left) and Nicola Forrest, together with WA Premier Mark McGowan.

Andrew and Nicola Forrest's Minderoo Foundation has committed $70 million to Australia's bushfire response, far exceeding the contributions made by big companies across the country.

Minderoo has pledged a $10 million donation for immediate bushfire relief and a further $10 million to mobilise specialist volunteers to assist firefighting operations and recovery efforts.

At least 1,250 volunteers are expected to be needed.

The philanthropic organisation will also invest $50 million in the development of a long-term blueprint for bushfire resilience, with support from non-profit group Conservation International.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed the need for extraordinary donations, on top of the government’s $1 million base payment to 42 affected communities in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

The government has also set aside $18 million in further funding for local communities worst affected by the bushfires.

Mr and Mrs Forrest said the unprecedented bushfire season had devastated families, communities, industries and wildlife.

“At Minderoo Foundation, we want to provide immediate relief because, like so many other Western Australians, we mourn the hardships of our fellow countrymen and women,” Mr Forrest said.

Minderoo will be working with organisations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to help rebuild and revitalise local communities.

Mrs Forrest said the scale of the destruction of homes and properties were difficult for many Australians to comprehend and they would need practical help to start “rebuilding their lives”.

“We hope Minderoo Foundation’s contribution will complement existing efforts, provide hope to those hurting and encourage others to help in any way they can – big or small,” she said.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group, which is chaired by and one-third owned by Mr Forrest, announced today it would donate $1 million to Minderoo’s Fire Fund.

These announcements come after many of Australia's largest companies made pledges for bushfire recovery over the past week.

BHP plans to donate $2 million via the Red Cross disaster relief while Rio Tinto, Chevron and South32 each plan to donate $1 million.

South32 also said it would continue to match its employee contributions to a number of supporting organisations, including the Red Cross and wildlife rescue organisation WIRES.

National Australia Bank increased its contribution towards the crisis, raising its total support to $5 million on Tuesday.

Millions of dollars in donations have been made by high-profile Australians, including a $5 million contribution from James Packer and his casino group, Crown Resorts.

So far, the bushfires have taken the lives of 27 people and destroyed more than 2,100 homes across Australia.

In Western Australia, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued an emergency warning for a fast-moving bushfire threatening lives and homes in Baldivis.

The blaze is moving in a north-easterly direction, with the Karnup Road exit off Kwinana Freeway now closed.

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