Greens push ‘common sense’ RFS fund bill

The Greens will put forward legislation to ensure $52 million donated to the NSW Rural Fire Service via a Celeste Barber-inspired online bushfire appeal is used to help torched communities and animals.

Funds donated to the NSW fire authorities under current law are restricted to equipment, operations and supplies expenditure.

Greens MP David Shoebridge says the party’s bill would amend the Rural Fires Act to allow fund donations received from November 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020 to go toward their intended cause.

“There is no question that the families of any RFS volunteer who was killed on duty should be eligible for support and assistance from these funds,” Mr Shoebridge said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The extraordinary generosity of ordinary Australians needs to be matched by some common-sense politics.”

The record number of donations for the Rural Fires Trust was co-ordinated by comedian Barber via social media, and saw more than one million people worldwide contribute to the cause.

Barber has indicated she will bring an application to the NSW Supreme Court to attempt to fix the issue.

The RFS has previously said it wants to distribute the money in line with Barber’s wishes but isn’t confident it can legally be done.

© AAP 2020