A court has ruled millions of dollars raised during the bushfire crisis by comedian Celeste Barber, cannot be distributed to charities or other States to help people and wildlife.
The money also can’t be directly given to volunteer firefighters either but some of the funds can go towards helping injured firefighters and the families of those killed.
Celeste Barber helped raise $51 million after urging people to donate money at the height of the disaster.
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She had raised to aim $30,000 and wanted the money to go to volunteers, victims and animals.
Barber nominated the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Brigade and Donations Fund as part of her crowd-funding campaign.
But that hit a snag when it was revealed that any money donated to the trust fund could only be used for equipment and training.
The fund’s trustees took the matter to the New South Wales Supreme Court to clarify exactly what it could do with the money, telling the court it wanted to honour Barber’s intentions and the people who donated to the fund.
However, despite describing the fundraising effort as a “spectacular success”, Justice Michael Slattery confirmed there are limitations on what the money can be spent on.
He ruled the funds could not be distributed to charities, whether in New South Wales or around Australia in order to assist victims or animals.
Justice Slattery said the RFS could use some the money to contribute to a fund that supported injured firefighters, or the families of those killed in the bushfires.
The court also ruled funds could be spent on skills training, physical training, mental health training and trauma counselling.