How you can help bushfire affected communities
The national bushfire crisis has brought a bleak start to the new year for many Australians who have had their homes destroyed, family members lost, jobs gone and are experiencing significant dislocation. Many of those on the front line of the crisis are trade union members and their families. The Australian trade union movement stands in solidarity with affected communities.
Many of you having been asking how we can help. Right now, the best way that we can assist is by donating money to the Australian Red Cross, Victorian Bushfire Appeal or the ACTU bushfire relief fund. The ACTU Bushfire Relief fund has been established to especially provide support to union members who may need support beyond that available generally.
For members in Victoria, please also consider donating to the Victorian Government Bushfire Disaster Appeal.
VOLUNTEER YOUR SKILLS
The fire affected communities will also need practical assistance with rebuilding after this immediate crisis and therefore we are also collecting a list of people who can help.
Can you help build a fence, cook and serve food, handle hazardous material, drive a bus/truck or volunteer your time? Fill out this short form and we will contact you when the need has been identified.
Like tens of thousands of fellow Australians great unionists like Rob Sayers (a member of the United Workers Union at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club) has been affected. He has been a life-long union member and was very active in the Change the Rules campaign. On the morning of New Year’s Eve, fire swept through Mogo, a tiny village on the Princes Highway south of Batemans Bay, along with many homes and buildings in Mogo, Rob and Rhonda's home just outside the village and which he built by hand himself, was destroyed. Rob and Rhonda are now homeless. Nearby, the Malua Bay Club was destroyed in the same fire. Casual employees and union members have lost their shifts leaving them without any income. There are many other union members and retired unionists whose homes survived but have been left with no power or infrastructure which makes them uninhabitable in the short term. The ACTU has opened a fund to assist unionists like Rob and Rhonda who have lost their homes or incomes in the 2019-2020 bushfires.
At times like this, the compassion, hard work and solidarity expressed by everyday people, is what will bring us through this fire crisis.
ACTU Assistant Secretary
Authorised by S. McManus, ACTU Secretary. Australian Unions · L4 365 Queen St, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia