Court rules comedian’s bushfire fund can’t go to victims, wildlife

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.


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.

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What a disgrace. The RFS volunteers won’t see it either, the RFS paid staff will use it for there own selected favorite places/ politically sympathetic brigades !

What a terrible thing to say about people who run toward the things that could kill us. Paid or not.

So true the RFS is so rife with political brigades that in my view bully their members the public would be shocked.

Well the money will now go to the government and put into their coffers never to be seen again . people will no donate if this is what happens the donations were to be used to help the people cand animal in need not just to be allocated vto what government should be doing anyway

And this here will be why no one in the world will help again when a disastrous event occurs……the money is sitting somewhere it could be used for its original purpose but yet again just goes to show the monumental s*** show of a system that’s been run.

Then they should return all the money we donated if it isnt being used to go where Celeste intended our names are with our donations and Celeste shpukd start her own non profit and we will then redonate to go to where she intended not greedy governments

Totally agree. This is so wrong and misleading when you want to genuinely help out

I totally agree the money should be returned to those who donated. I am definitely not going to support the Australian govt coffers but will gladly donate to Celeste’s bushfires fund as originally intended.

Too many politics and rules when it comes to fund raising. This was to help families and animals why can’t it go where she wanted it to go. Giving it to other charities. Yeah we all seen what happened there. Disgraceful and disappointed at this decision.

This is a bloody joke . I will not be donating again . Its not what i wanted to happen ?

Return all the money donated with intent to support bushfire victims

Is there any charity that does the right thing ,you will find the RFS will get it but the grubbyment will take 51 mil off their budget

What a joke – in the Canungra fires that destroyed so much of our little town and surrounds we raised so much and it went to everyone who needed it – every last dollar, every last bale of hay and every last bag of feed – this is unacceptable and wrong

Yes I’m sorry but Australia has had my last charity $$. Very sad as that 51mil will be tucked into an Acct somewhere earning more in useable $$ …….. the government need to again step up, and find a way to grow balls and say this is what’s happening!!!!!! They are so corrupt! And not very interested

Exactly why I didn’t donate $1 to any organisations and why I never do but instead donated to a family directly I know that was impacted. I know exactly where my hard earned cash went

this is terrible I donated so those fire fighters could get the equipment they need on the ground where it is needed not for it to be held and made useless by other interests

Thieves ?


Now we know what happens with donated funds to charities, we need to give the funds directly to the people that need the assistance.