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‘Unacceptable’: Red Cross still withholding over $100 million in bushfire donations

Bega MP Andrew Constance says he’s been “set off like a cracker” after learning more than $100 million in donations to bushfire victims is yet to be distributed.

About $200 million has been raised by Red Cross to help bushfire-affected communities but the charity is yet to hand out $127 million worth of donations.

Red Cross said, in a statement, that they have given “more than $75 million to more than 4,000 people, with millions more being spent each week”.

They assure the full $200 million in donations will be spent on bushfire-ravaged towns. (See full statement below)

Red Cross came under fire earlier in the year after they were accused of withholding money for future disasters.

“It is unacceptable,” Mr Contance said. “They will be hearing this.”

“They’ve decided to hold back $59 million to help people rebuild. A lot of people won’t rebuild post-fire.

“Why is Red Cross sitting on $59 million that could automatically go in?

“I think the Red Cross ain’t actually audited like all the other charities.”

He suggests the extra money be given to RFS volunteers who lost their homes.

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Red Cross full statement:

“Red Cross has so far paid grants totalling more than $75 million to more than 4,000 people, with millions more being spent each week.

“A further $5m has been spent on emergency teams that supported communities during the fires, an $18m recovery program tailored to the needs of local communities for the next 3 years has also begun.

“All of this has been done at a support cost so far of less than 4 cents in each dollar donated and we will continue to keep this as low as possible. 

“The balance of the $200 million which has been received into the fund is all being used to support communities impacted by the bushfires with the largest portion to support people as they re-build or re-establish their homes.

“This has already commenced distribution.  We will continue to be transparent about the funds distribution as allocations are made and funds are distributed.

“Red Cross is concerned there are affected people still not coming forward for assistance and we’d encourage them to apply even if they are not ready to rebuild.”


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