Celeste Barber and NSW Rural Fire Service on collision course over $51m fundraiser

During last year’s bushfires, Barber raised $51 million in a record-breaking Facebook campaign which nominated the RFS and Brigades Donations Fund as its recipient.  While the fundraiser was active, Barber said the money would be distributed across multiple states and charities.  In May, the NSW Supreme Court ruled that could not happen, despite the expectations of thousands of donors.

NSW Parliament is hearing a bill that would amend the RFS Act to allow donations made last year to be shared among bushfire-affected communities and individuals.

In the RFS submission to NSW Parliament, the organisation pointed out that Barber’s donations page clearly stated funds raised would go to the RFS.

It said the bill “seeks to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision” and that the judicial ruling “should be respected”.

“To do anything else would undermine the spirit of the Trust and any efforts to raise money for brigades in the future.”

In her submission, Barber said she worried about the future of philanthropy if the laws were not changed.

“My concern is that if it is not possible to help these people have their money allocated to where they want it to go in this unprecedented instance that this may be the last we see of such generosity on such an international scale,” she wrote.

To view the ABC News article in full, click here

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