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

Eighteen months into Australian Red Cross ' grants and recovery program following the devastating Black Summer bushfires, Red Cross is today reporting that 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 has also been an independent review by the charity regulator 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 update shows at 30 June 2021 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 has been allocated for further grants and our ongoing 3-year recovery program
  • 40,107 people were assisted with recovery through one on one and group support, training, workshops, information and referrals 
  • 6,085 people received 13,260 financial assistance grants 
  • Communities in 46 local government areas in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria are supported by our recovery program.  
  • Less than 5%  has been 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 redcross.org.au/annualreports.  

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 at redcross.org.au/news-and-media/news/bushfire-report