Fight between Celeste Barber and the RFS revives as the comedian demands that money from her $ 51 million bushfire call be spread across Australia – but fires don’t play a ball
- Australian comedian Celeste Barber is at odds with RFS about donations
- The NSW Supreme Court ruled that the $ 51 million raised cannot be divided and shared
- But a bill could use the remaining funds for other charity groups
- RFS is opposed to the new bill, but Ms. Barber is an avid supporter of the legislation
Struggles for over $ 51 million in bushfire charities have been rekindled after the New South Wales Rural Fire Service opposed a bill that would allow the money raised to be distributed and shared with other groups.
Australian comedian Celeste Barber raised the staggering amount through a Facebook charity in January after firefighters fronted her NSW property on the south coast during the unprecedented summer bushfire crisis.
The social media star, known for imitating glamorous celebrities online, has vigorously supported the Greens bill and warned lawmakers that if it is not passed, it will be the “last thing we do of such generosity on an international scale.” see’.
Celeste Barber (photo) speaks at the Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on February 16
John Farnham (bottom center), comedian Celeste Barber (top center) and Olivia Newton-John (top center) pose for a photo of volunteer firefighters
Ms. Barber set a $ 30,000 goal on January 3, but just two days later, more than $ 30 million had been donated worldwide.
But the ongoing legal confusion has surrounded the money because Ms. Barber originally sent the money to the NSW RFS Brigades Donations Fund.
She didn’t know that money sent to this fund should only be used for training, resources and firefighting gear – not for volunteers and their families or fire-stricken communities.
But with more money than expected, Ms. Barber also wanted to share the donations with other charities.
Barber is pictured in Los Angeles on the Fall / Winter 2020 2020 Runway Show on February 7
The social media star is known for imitating glamorous celebrities online. Pictured: Celeste Barber (right) poses as Kim Kardashian (left)
“I’m going to make sure Victoria gets some, South Australia gets some, including families of people who died in these fires, nature,” Barber said in an Instagram story in January.
But the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Brigades Donations Fund cannot legally give their donations to other charities – meaning most of the money has been left in limbo since January.
AUSTRALIA’S HORROR SUMMER BUSHFIRES
The 2019-20 forest fire season was the worst Australia had ever experienced.
A combination of severe drought, unprecedented weather conditions and intensive fire behavior resulted in some of the largest forest fires ever seen
Nationally, 18.6 million hectares were burned
It is estimated that one billion species have been killed
More than 3,500 homes were lost and 5,850 outbuildings were destroyed
In total, 34 lives were lost
In May, the NSW Supreme Court ruled that the money should not be shared with other charities.
“A court decision has been made about how to allocate funds,” the NSW RFS wrote in a statement released Wednesday in the parliamentary inquiry into the proposed bill.
“The court rules that it falls outside the scope of the Trust and violates money from people and organizations outside NSW, including organizations that provide care for animals affected by bushfire.
The NSW RFS believes that the decision should be respected. Doing anything else would undermine the spirit of confidence and any efforts to raise money for brigades in the future. ‘
But Ms Barber disagrees, writing in her submission that the law needs to be revised to help others in need.
“I started the fundraiser to help my family, with a goal of $ 30,000, and when it exceeded tens of millions of dollars, and the fires continued to rage and the destruction was inscrutable, I absolutely thought it would be possible for this huge amount of be shared, “she said.
“As I understand it, the RFS has already paid $ 20 million to their brigades.
“There is $ 30 plus million left to help the people who need it, to honor the donors, some of whom were children from fire-stricken communities themselves, to donate everything they could, to help others restore their lives to build.
“It makes sense to me and thousands of people around the world who have donated that this money is being given to those and others in need.”
NSW RFS volunteers are depicted fighting a forest fire that closed the Princes Highway south of Ulladulla on January 5
Fire and rescue personnel run to move their trucks as a forest fire burns next to a major road and homes on the outskirts of Bilpin town on December 19, 2019 in Sydney