Waleed Aly grills the fire boss over how $ 51 million raised in Celeste Barber’s bushfire fund will be spent
Waleed Aly has grilled the newly appointed NSW RFS commissioner on how the $ 51 million that Celeste Barber raised will be spent after the Supreme Court decides it cannot be shared with other charities.
RFS Commissioner Bob Rogers told The Project host on Monday that NSW badly needed the funds, as it was hit hardest by fires in the summer.
Aly challenged the commissioner and wondered why he went to court to ask to distribute the money across the country if he would like to use it in his own state.
“So if you thought that way about the money, why did you go to court?” Aly questioned.
“Because, as I understand it, you went to court to see if you could give the money to other charities. If you are happy not to, why bother? ‘
The money has been in a legal limbo since Celeste Barber launched the ‘Please help anyway you can’ in January. This is a terrifying attraction to Facebook. Shown at the Fire Fight concert in February
Mr. Rogers said he was in court because Barber was so keen to share the money with charities in desperate need.
Celeste Barber, who clearly initiated that fundraiser, of course she had some views on that, and we tried to make sure we did the right thing by everyone to make sure we go to court to get an absolute verdict. about what that money can be used for, “he told The Project.
“The last thing we want to do is alienate some of the population who have given so generously. So we were obliged to make sure that we followed the law to the absolute letter, and that included going and getting this statement. ‘
Mr. Rogers said the money would go to support the families of firefighters who were injured or killed while fighting the fires across the state.
RFS Commissioner Bob Rogers (pictured) told the project host on Monday that NSW badly needed the funds after it was hit hardest by fires in the summer
Waleed Aly (pictured) challenged the commissioner and asked why he went to court if he wanted to use the money himself
Aly then brought up the possible legislative change proposed by the Greens, which would make it legal to distribute the money and give some to other charities.
“That if they succeeded that would replace today’s decision, legislation trumps the lawsuit. Would you like that bill to be passed? Aly asked.
Mr. Rogers said that it was not the position of the RFS to argue for “what goes before parliament” and that he would respect the decision of the courts.
The money was in a legal limbo since January, when Celeste Barber launched the Facebook call during the crisis with an initial target of $ 30,000.
The comedian eventually raised $ 51.3 million and nominated the NSW Rural Fire Service and the Brigades Donation Fund as beneficiaries.
However, Barber was not aware of the deed that governed that trust at the time, and only allows spending money on the purchase and maintenance of equipment, training and administrative costs.
“The trustees have filed with the court that they want to respect Mrs. Barber’s intentions and beliefs … but they want to do this consistently with the trustee and in accordance with applicable law,” said Michael Slattery of the Supreme Court on Monday.
Barber responded to the Supreme Court ruling on Monday afternoon, saying that the RFS did “ pretty incredible things ” with the money
“Some donors may have intended or hoped that the money they donated would be used for other purposes than the court advised.
“Despite the wish of the trustees to respect or hope for those intentions, the law provides principles that guarantee a degree of certainty in the application of trust funds, including charitable trust funds.”
Justice Slattery ruled that administrators can give the money to families of deceased firefighters.
The trust can also fund training and resources for trauma, physical and mental health training for firefighters.
But the court ruled that the money cannot be used for certain charities, including the Australian Red Cross, other state RFS divisions, and WIRES.
At the time, Barber was unaware of the deed that that trust should only spend money on the purchase and maintenance of equipment, training and administrative costs.
Barber responded to the Supreme Court ruling on Monday afternoon, saying that the RFS was doing “pretty incredible things” with the money.
“It’s not going where we wanted it so badly, but where it is going to make such a difference,” she told her 7.1 million followers.
“I want to give you all the love again, because holy s ** t balls batman, you made a huge difference, it’s crazy.”
The comedian released an official statement saying she “hoped” that the money might have been distributed elsewhere because it was such an “unprecedented amount.”
“It turns out that acting at university doesn’t make me a legislator,” Barber wrote.
“The money will be in the very capable, very grateful hands of the NSW RFS.”
The court ruled that the money should not be used for certain charities, including the Australian Red Cross, other state RFS divisions and animal associations WIRES
Her statement outlined what the money would be used for and thanked everyone “around the world” who donated.
“From the kids opening their piggy banks to the single moms who gave what they could,” said Barber.
“To everyone from all walks of life who has heard and helped us, whether it was a handful of gold coins or a big check.
“This is all because of you.”
Earlier this year, the RFS said it wanted to share the money donated by people all over the world.
“We take the issue of public donations very seriously – and we want everyone to see the funds spent quickly and in the right places,” said a spokesperson.
The trust can also fund training and resources for trauma, physical and mental health training for firefighters