Red Cross releases 18-month report on Black Saturday bushfire fund

23 August 2021 - Eighteen months into the Australian Red Cross grants and recovery program following the devastating Black Summer bushfires, Red Cross is today reporting that more than 93% of the $242 million raised has been disbursed or spent.

Red Cross National Emergency Services Manager Andrew Coghlan said Australians responded with unparalleled generosity in the face of the widespread losses.

“We have been regularly reporting on how the donations have been used, in line with our commitment to donor transparency. There have also been independent reviews by the charity regulator and Natural Disasters Royal commission, which both reported favourably on our work,” Mr Coghlan said.

“We continue to recognise the strength and resilience of those who endured the worst bushfire season on record. We stand with them as they grieve for what was lost, and as they walk the long journey to rebuilding their lives. We also recognise the many donors and emergency services workers, including 3,351 Red Cross people, who gave so much to the relief and recovery effort.

“Our latest update shows we have given out 13,260 financial assistance grants and continue to support affected communities, with a network of recovery officers in the worst-affected communities. Our long experience in disasters shows us that recovery can take a very long time, and well after the cameras and the world’s attention moves on, we remain on the ground, working to support communities’ aspirations.”

The report shows that as at 30 June 2021:

  • $242 million was raised
  • $224 million was disbursed or spent
  • The remaining $18 million is allocated for further grants, ongoing recovery and support costs
  • 40,107 people have been assisted with recovery through 1-1 support, information and referrals.  
  • 6,085 people have received 13,260 financial assistance grants 
  • Communities in 46 local government areas in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia are supported by our recovery program.  
  • 5%  was spent on essential administrative support costs   

The Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund was independently audited by Deloitte, as part of the Australian Red Cross FY19/20 annual report. The audited financial statements are available at  

Mr Coghlan said that in addition, Red Cross emailed a survey to people who received a Red Cross bushfire grant 606 people responded. 

  • 90% reported they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the grant application process 
  • 89% found Red Cross staff and volunteers supportive and helpful 
  • 88% were satisfied with the time it took to receive their grant 

The 18 month report is available here

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