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Former charity boss says ‘dumping big pot of money’ not solution for bushfire donations

Social Justice Advocate Tim Costello says disaster money needs to be spent wisely while major charities cop criticisms over bushfire donations.

The Red Cross has been criticised after it was revealed they would spend only $30 million on immediate relief from the $95,000 worth of donations for bushfire-affected communities.

Many, including Bega MP Andrew Constance, have argued the money should be urgently given to struggling families on the South Coast of NSW battered by fires.

But the former World Vision Australia CEO tells Deborah Knight systems are put in place to make sure the money is fairly distributed.

“You can’t just take a big pot of money, dump it in a community and say ‘help yourself’.

“It’s such a big job allowing people time to say what they need, where they want to rebuild their lives… that really says you’ve got to think about this.

“I don’t know any charities that say, ‘we just pocket the money and pay ourselves bigger salaries’ and just put it away for a rainy day, if they are doing that they should be criticised.”

In an emotional discussion about his work for natural disasters worldwide, Mr Costello reveals how he copes day-to-day with the devastation he sees.

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Image: Getty/Mark Dadswell