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Celeste Barber's $51 Million Bushfire Fundraiser Cannot Be Divided Up Across Australia

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Celeste Barber's $51 Million Bushfire Fundraiser Cannot Be Divided Up Across Australia

The New South Wales Supreme Court has finally handed down a judgement on what will happen to the more than $51 million raised by comedian Celeste Barber for the bushfires.

It quickly became the largest single fundraiser in Facebook's history as people from all around the world sent money after Australia's Black Summer bushfires.

However, the money has been locked up ever since as experts pondered whether it was allowed to be sent to other states and territories that were affected by infernos from the most recent season.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Because Barber's Facebook fundraiser declared that it was raising money for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, the Supreme Court declared that the RFS could be the only recipient of the cash.

Yesterday, Justice Michael Slattery ruled that the RFS trustee trustee could use the $51.2 million to set up or contribute to a fund for firefighters who are injured or killed; to provide physical and mental health training and resources to firefighters including trauma counselling; and to pay for firefighters to attend training courses.

NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers has outlined where the money will be going and said the service will be incredibly transparent.

Around $14 million will be spent on upgrading safety equipment, including respiratory protection and helmets, then a further $20 will be sent across local brigades. It's yet to be decided on where the rest of the money will go.

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The fundraiser ended up with more than $51.2 million. Credit: Facebook
The fundraiser ended up with more than $51.2 million. Credit: Facebook

Ms Barber has released a statement, saying that while she hoped the money could have been divided up by the states and territories, she's happy that the NSW RFS will benefit from the fundraiser.

She wrote: "Turns out that studying acting at university does not make me a lawmaker. So the money will be in the very capable, very grateful hands of the NSW RFS.

"It will be used for equipment and training, to support rural firefighters injured while fighting, the families of rural firefighters killed while fighting, along with mental health training and trauma counselling, to train up more volunteers and help communities be better prepared for the ongoing threat of bushfires here in our beautiful Australia.

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"From the kids who smashed their piggy banks open, to the single mums that gave what they could.

"To everyone from all walks of life that heard us and helped us, whether it was a hand full of gold coins or a big fat cheque.

"This is all because of you guys."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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