James Packer Has Now Donated $5 Million To Australia's Bushfire Crisis
James Packer and his Crown Resorts have donated $5 million to the country's bushfire relief, the billionaire saying he wants to "do his bit" to help those affected by the crisis.
The Packer family previously donated $1 million to the NSW Rural Fire Service following the outbreak of bushfires in November last year.
A new donation announced overnight, 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. This includes NSW, Victoria and WA.
The additional pledge will see the Packers donate an extra $1.5 million and Crown donate $2.5 million, taking the total contribution to $5 million.
Of that money, the NSW RFS and the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) will each get $1 million, while the Western Australian Bush Fire Brigade (BFB) will receive $500,000.
The remainder will be distributed between the Australian Red Cross ($500,000), the Victorian Government fund in conjunction with Bendigo Bank and the Salvation Army ($1 million) and wildlife charities WIRES and Zoos Victoria ($1 million).
In a statement to 10 daily, Packer said he was inspired by how Australians were supporting each other throughout the bushfire crisis and wanted to "do his bit".
"We hope these funds play a small part in helping our firefighters, and easing the suffering of people who have lost their homes and the poor wildlife caught up in the blaze," he said.
Australians are digging deep to support each other in these tough times, it’s truly inspiring.
Crown Resorts Foundation Chair Helen Coonan said she is "incredibly thankful" for the work of the country's firefighters, emergency services and charities throughout such a "tragic event".
"We encourage all Australians to give generously to assist those that have lost their homes and livelihoods, and to support our wildlife and firefighters risking their lives in the field," she said.
The Packers are the latest in a long string of business people, sporting stars, celebrities, musicians, and retailers to lend their support to the country's response to the crisis.
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.
Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth has pledged $1 million, while Aussie stars Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman have each donated $500,000 to the cause.
Of course, comedian Celese Barber's massively viral fundraising page continues, now surpassing an incredible $40 million.