Good Guy Andrew Forrest: Donates $70M To Australia Fires Relief

Some celebrities have set up fundraisers, others have pledged $1 million. But this billionaire is pulling out the big guns for Australia’s bushfire crisis, donating $70 million to the relief effort.

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As both the founder of Fortescue Metals Group and Minara Resources – one of Australia’s biggest nickel mining companies – Forrest has a net worth of more than $8 billion. His donation will come from the Minderoo Foundation, set up by him and his wife Nicola.

Since September, at least 25 people have been killed as a result of the bushfires, along with more than a billion animals.

Forrest outlined his plans for the pledge: $10 million will be spent on assembling a volunteer force of more than 1,200 people from the mining and agriculture sector, while another $10 million will go into relief funding in communities in dire need of support, in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

BRISBANE, Jan. 6, 2020 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on Dec. 20, 2019 shows fire trucks working at Lexton bush fire site in western Victoria, Australia. The Australian government launched the National Bushfire Recovery Agency which would be funded with an initial two billion Australian dollars (1.38 billion U.S. dollars) on Monday.

Forrest said, as per ABC News

We are putting together a small army of 1,250 skilled personnel from first-aid, emergency first responders, tradespeople, electricians, carpenters, project managers, construction and clean-up personnel. Communities when they’re plagued by that much grief think automatically about just getting back what they’ve just lost. Unfortunately that is impossible.

This is not a zero-sum game, this is a disaster and my family will react to the scale of the disaster.

In an official statement from the Minderoo Foundation, a $50 million investment was also announced, set aside to ‘support the development of a long-term blueprint for fire resilience’.

Andrew Forrest speaks at the Monaco Better World Forum gala dinner at the Westin Grand Central on September 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Sipa USA)

The statement explains: 

Minderoo Foundation’s Fire Fund project will also invest in building long term resilience by convening leading experts to develop a globally relevant national blueprint for fire and disaster resilience. Minderoo Foundation will establish this project in early 2020 and launch a global effort to engage contributors and funders to raise approximately $500 million.

While Forrest acknowledges they’ll never be able to make Australia fire-proof, he wants to ‘be able to mitigate them to be able to respond to them immediately and prevent the loss of life’ seen over the past few months.

Australia fires
Australia fires

Since the crisis began, more than 100 people have been arrested across the country for bushfire-related offences. Forrest has taken note of this, but maintains climate change is the driving force in the infernos.

Forrest added: 

Arson may be responsible for starting fires in some cases, but it is not the reason the fires have reached the proportions they have through this season and it is not the reason they have continued for so long.

A number of celebrities have also donated large amounts of money to the crisis, including MetallicaElton JohnChris HemsworthKylie Jenner and P!nk, while Ellen DeGeneres launched a GoFundMe to raise donations.

You can donate to the Australian Red Cross here. Alternatively, you can donate to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service here, or the Queensland Fire Service here.

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