All The Money Pledged Towards Australia's Bushfire Crisis
As bushfires continue to ravage parts of the country, celebrities and governments have been opening their wallets to help fire-ravaged communities recover and rebuild.
A growing list of celebrities are using their platforms to support fundraising efforts, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars -- and in some cases, millions -- for fire brigades, wildlife and those affected by the bushfires.
Donation drives and auctions set up by stars including Australian comedian Celeste Barber and sporting icon Shane Warne has seen donations pour in from across the country and around the globe, while others, including actor Chris Hemsworth are donating money of their own.
More than $34.9 million has been raised for the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund since New Year's Eve, Acting Chief Exective Noel Clement said on Tuesday. That includes $13.3 million raised by the City of Sydney and ABC News.
This adds to more than $2 billion in recovery funds pledged by the federal government, along with separate relief funds set up by state governments.
As of Tuesday, here is a list of the money donated or pledged towards the country's ongoing bushfire crisis.
Aussie comedian Celeste Barber's viral Facebook fundraiser driver continues to skyrocket by the minute. Barber has used her huge social media following to draw donations for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) from around the globe, raising over $40 million in less than one week.
Barber told her Instagram fans on Monday she plans to "keep pushing".
"We already have so much, you guys, but we have to help people completely rebuild their lives," she said, adding she would "have a talk" with the RFS about redistributing the funds across other state brigades and relief organisations.
As of Monday, a Facebook fundraiser for Victoria's Country Fire Authority (CFA) raised over $1.4 million.
Other celebrities have joined Barber in lending their support to the country's bushfire crisis, including Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth. On Tuesday, he announced on Instagram his family is donating $1 million to the cause. Hemsworth did not specify where the money will be distributed, but added links to fire brigades and relief charities.
Aussie singer songwriter Kylie Minogue and her family has donated $500,000 towards the immediate firefighting effort and ongoing support. She tagged Red Cross, the NSW RFS, the CFA and the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) in an Instagram post on Monday.
Aussie Hollywood star Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban have pledged $500,000 to fire relief efforts. Kidman announced the donation to Network 10's Angela Bishop, later writing on social media the money would go to "all the rural services fighting the fires".
Music icon Pink has also pledged $500,000, while other celebrities including Aussie actor Margot Robbie have urged fans to donate themselves.
Other Aussie musicians are also getting behind the fundraising effort through charity concerts, special merchandise and more whopping donations.
Sydney electronic artist Flume last week pledged $100,00 towards the WIRES animal rescue charity.
The sporting community has extended considerable generosity to those affected by the bushfires, spearheaded by Aussie tennis player Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios kicked off support by pledging $200 for every ace he fires during the Australian summer of tennis. In his opening match of the ATP Cup, he hit 20 aces, which translates to $4,000. He also inspired Tennis Australia to announce a 'Rally for Relief' exhibition match that will be held on January 15.
Other tennis peers have followed suit, including Aussie women's world number one, Ash Barty. After donating more than $30,000 to the RSCPA last last year to help affected wildlife, Barty has offered to donate all of her prize money from the upcoming Brisbane International to the bushfire appeal -- potentially up to $360,000.
Cricket icon Shane Warne will auction off his beloved baggy green to raise money for bushfire victims. The former Australian player on Monday said he would auction the cap worn throughout his Test career, with funds reportedly to go to the Red Cross' bushfire appeal. Within hours, the bid reached over $302,000.
Big Bash cricketers Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and D'arcy Short have promised $250 for every six they smash throughout the tournament, while Australia's Test bowlers -- Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon -- will donate $1000 for every wicket they take in the third Test against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
James Packer and his Crown Resorts have donated $5 million to the country's bushfire relief. The Packer family previously donated $1 million to the NSW RFS following the outbreak of bushfires in November last year. A new donation, split between the Packer family and Crown Resorts Foundations, will support volunteer fire services along with relief and wildlife charities in states where Crown Resorts has casinos.
Billionaire businessman Anthony Pratt has pledged $1 million, with the funds to be dispersed through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).
Melbourne philanthropists John and Pauline Gandel have also donated $1 million towards response efforts, while Sydney hospitality billionaire Justin Hemmes has reportedly donated $500,000 to the NSW RFS.
The ongoing donations and fundraisers come as the federal government committed at least $2 billion worth of national bushfire recovery funds over the next two years. This specific commitment comes in addition to ongoing assistance through deployment of federal assets including Defence Force personnel and equipment.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said the initial funds would be pumped into the the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, announced the previous day, to help local governments, farmers and primary producers get back on their feet.
"The fires are still burning, and they will be burning for months to come," the PM said.
"If more is needed, and the cost is higher, then more will be provided."
"What matters to me is the human cost and meeting whatever cost we need to meet," he said.
The fund will operate alongside three levels of existing disaster relief payments available through the Commonwealth.
Service Australia pop ups will open in fire-affected communities to help people access disaster payments, while welfare debt recovery and mutual obligation requirements in bushfire-affected regions will be suspended for at least two months.
Morrison added all areas of government "will be making significant and massive financial commitments" towards roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
"These are investments ... to provide a support that hope that, on the other side of this disaster, there is a future and a strong, positive reason to move forward into the future," he said.
The Victorian government has already set up a bushfire fund, with the Bendigo Bank and the Salvation Army, to help families buy urgent supplies.
Amid ongoing fundraiser efforts, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned of scams.
The ACCC on Monday said scammers are posing as legitimate charities, creating their own charity names or even cold-calling people to raise funds.
"Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent," it warned.
From Tuesday, a hotline will be set up for the public to report bushfire-related scams.