Australia is battling an unprecedented bushfire season, with large fires burning across the country devastating communities, businesses, industries and wildlife. Dozens of people have been killed. Millions of hectares of land have been scorched. Hundreds of blazes are still active.
Minderoo Foundation’s Fire Fund is helping to rebuild communities and revitalise local economies and develop a long-term blueprint for fire resilience in Australia.
Fire Fund comprises three distinct areas – response, recovery and resilience.
Fire Fund is mobilising volunteers to support clean up and recovery efforts in NSW, Victoria and South Australia in response to direct requests from relevant authorities, philanthropic organisations and communities. At least 1250 volunteers are expected to be needed.
Fire Fund is covering travel and accommodation expenses for these specialised volunteers – including firefighters, medics, tradespeople, mental health workers and ground clean up personnel. Fire Fund will also leverage its networks to rally volunteers, equipment, supplies and funding, particularly from the resources and agriculture industries.
The response team is being led by Chris Mayfield OAM, a former member of the Australian Regular Army who spent 26 years in senior leadership positions including overseas deployments.
Fire Fund has allocated AU$10 million towards the Response phase efforts . We encourage others to donate to Fire Fund, both locally and abroad to at least match the commitments of Minderoo Foundation.
Fire Fund is focussing on direct, on-the-ground support for affected communities as they rebuild with a focus on crucial grassroots projects identified by community leaders. Fire Fund has allocated AU$10million to kick-start these efforts.
To date the team have visited Kangaroo Island and Woodside in South Australia; Armidale, Wytaliba, Tenterfield, Torrinton, Drake, Moruya, Mogo, Malua Bay and Merimbula in New South Wales; and Mallacoota and Bairnsdale in Victoria.
We are collaborating with organisations such as Australian Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Conservation International as well as the Australian Government.
Fire Fund has allocated AU$10 million to kick start the Recovery efforts. We encourage others to donate to Fire Fund, both locally and abroad to at least match the commitments of Minderoo Foundation.
One of the key initiatives of Fire Fund is building long term resilience by convening leading experts to develop a globally relevant national blueprint for fire and disaster resilience.
With the support of leading international non-profit environmental organisation Conservation International, these efforts are drawing on existing research and expertise in Australia and overseas to accelerate innovation and develop new approaches to mitigate bushfires.
Focus areas for this work could include climate change, mental health, science and technology, environmental conservation, water security and land management, among others. It is intended the project will address the factors that contribute to and cause natural disasters and the considerations that govern our response to such crises.
The Resilience phase aims to pilot new practices and invest in the application of evidence-based techniques and strategies. It will be led by Adrian Turner, an experienced international executive and a former CEO of CSIRO’s Data61 project, the data and digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency. Fire Fund will establish this project in early 2020 and launch a global effort to engage contributors and funders to raise approximately AU$500 million. Minderoo Foundation will kick start this work with AU$50 million of its commitment to Fire Fund.
“Following the catastrophic fires on Black Saturday in 2009, where 173 lost their lives in one night, devastated communities were provided with practical relief from Andrew Forrest. He talked to people about their most immediate needs and spent time with people in order to understand their priorities. As a direct result, many temporary accommodation pods from his mining sites were transported to Marysville to provide accommodation. Without these there would have been nowhere for many made homeless to begin to rebuild their lives. Andrew’s assistance was immediate, targeted to specific needs and extremely generous. His helping hand helped countless people get back on their feet.”
Fran Bailey, former Federal Member for McEwen