Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has announced a $70M bushfire fund which will focus on preventing future crises

Paul Kane/ Getty ImagesAndrew Forrest

WA billionaires Andrew and Nicola Forrest have announced a $70 million donation to help bushfire relief efforts and long term resilience.

The money will come from the Forrests’ philanthropic arm, the Minderoo Foundation.

About $10 million will be used for immediate bushfire relief and $10 million will go toward mobilising specialist volunteers from WA.

Minderoo predicted at least 1250 volunteers were expected to be needed to help firefighting operations and recovery efforts and the money would go toward their travel and accommodation expenses as well as equipment and supplies.

The $50 million will go toward gathering experts to develop a ‘globally relevant national blueprint’ for fire and disaster resilience, including new approaches to mitigate bushfires.

Led by a former CSIRO boss the project would include looking at climate change, mental health, science and technology, environmental conservation, water security and land management.

The project will cost $500 million and the Forrests will go global to raise the remainder.

Mr Forrest said they wanted to provide immediate relief because they mourned the hardships of their fellow countrymen and women.

“We recognise that we don’t have all the answers, but we want to understand what communities need and do our bit to help them now and as they regroup in the coming months,” he said.

Nicola Forrest said in the weeks and months ahead, people directly impacted by these fires would need both practical and emotional support.

“They will need time to grieve their loss and to deal with the trauma of the experience and they will need practical help to start the process of rebuilding their lives. While rubble that was once someone’s home might now be unrecognisable, it is still home,” she said.

“Beneath the ash, memories still exist, and these should be treasured. 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.”

Australians have dug deep, donating an unprecedented amount of money in the wake of the devastating east coast bushfires which have burned through more than 10 million hectares of bush and killed 25 people so far and potentially up to 1 billion animals.

Big names and businesses were also quick to offer help. The Forrests join other billionaires such as James Packer, who donated $5 million through Crown and his Packer Family Foundation.

Anthony Pratt, who owns the Visy Industries packaging, committed $1 million for the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Comedian Celeste Barber raised more than $45 million in an incredible social media-driven effort over Facebook.

This story was originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Read the original story here.

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