$25 Million Trust Fund Established For Children Of Fallen Firies
A permanent $25 million trust fund is being established to support the children of volunteers who have died while on duty protecting communities from Australia's natural disasters.
The Trust is part of a coordinated effort from The Business Council of Australia to provide relief and support in the wake of the bushfire crisis that has devastated the nation.
Named the 'Australian Volunteer Support Trust', the funding will go towards supporting the children of volunteer firefighters who died fighting in the 2019-2020 fires, as well as all future natural disasters in Australia.
Business Council President Tim Reed said the primary focus will be to support children to adulthood, especially in education.
"The trust aims to raise an initial sum of $25 million from donations to respond quickly to the immediate needs of families,” Reed said.
Equity Trustees, who will manage the fund on a permanent pro-bono basis, said the trust is about "saluting volunteerism in Australia" as well as to support the families of any volunteers who sadly lose their lives while volunteering.
"The trust will provide for applications based on needs, to educate the children of those who have given lives in service, until 21 years of age," Chairman Jeff Kennett said.
Volunteers have been the unsung heroes of Australian life and will continue to be so in the future.
As part of a growing coalition of big businesses to provide support and relief to bushfire-affected communities, the Business Council also announced it was setting up a community rebuilding initiative.
The five-year initiative is hoped to mobilise and coordinate resources where they are needed most and assist with rebuilding efforts and for financial relief.
Part of the initiative will also provide employment opportunities for volunteers and victims who have lost work as a result of disasters.
Reed said many of the Business Council's member companies have staff who have volunteered to fight the fires and organisations are therefore being encouraged to give those staff members a minimum of 20 days paid leave.
A number of companies including ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coles, CBA, NAB, Qantas and Woolworths have already announced plans to give paid leave for their staff who are emergency services volunteers.
“We are all proud of these people and all the firefighters and volunteers for their tireless efforts," Reed said
"Some of those staff have lost homes and loved ones. Our thoughts are with those people."