Animal rescue groups race to save Australia’s bushfire-hit wildlife with nearly $200 million in donations

It started with a tweet from Barack Obama.

As the Black Summer bushfires raged across Australia, and with reports of a terrible wildlife death toll, the former US president highlighted the work of aid agencies including animal rescue group WIRES.

An electronic billboard promoting WIRES appeared in Times Square, while a group in the UK produced koala buttons urging people to donate.

Television host Ellen DeGeneres, Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, and Australian Formula 1 star Daniel Ricciardo were among those who backed the fundraising campaigns, while British food critic Tom Parker Bowles raised nearly $250,000.

An early estimate suggested a billion animals were killed.

Will the donations flooding in for animal rescue groups save Australia’s wildlife from the next megafire?

As the cash rolled in from the US, Japan, Europe and China, WIRES volunteers were dealing with an unprecedented number of calls for help.

Eighty-seven thousand came through in the weeks after the fires and many wildlife carers were overwhelmed with the enormity of the job.

WIRES CEO Leanne Taylor said it was a chaotic period because the fires burnt over a vast area, all at the same time.

As the emergency passed, rescue groups had time to reflect on what had happened.

The environmental toll from the fires was enormous.

Twenty per cent of Australian forests were lost.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimated the number of animals killed or displaced at close to 3 billion: 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs.

But as the death toll went up so did the fundraising tally.

WIRES received $90 million and the WWF $45 million; $18 million went to the Wildlife Victoria Bushfire Appeal and $15 million to the RSPCA.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital received $8 million while several smaller groups raised more than a million dollars each.

Ms Taylor said it was a huge increase in funding for the sector.

Up until now, animal rescue has been handled by a variety of state-based, mostly volunteer organisations, but WIRES is spreading its wings and working with other organisations to improve their capacity to rescue and care for wildlife.

Now the largest wildlife rescue organisation in Australia, WIRES has just announced it will spend $35 million on rescue, rehabilitation and recovery.

Ms Taylor said WIRES would team up with other organisations to support volunteer carers around the country.

“We’re working with various agencies, vets, governments and local councils to improve those relationships, so we can provide better resources through the funding we received, and provide resources to licensed carers and rehabilitation groups nationally.”

That includes the Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC), which is setting up 23 hubs for volunteers and other agencies that are working with threatened species.

Hundreds of species, even some that were once common, were pushed closer to extinction as a result of the devastating bushfires.

That includes four birds, three reptile species and one mammal.

Among a raft of grants WIRES has handed out is $1.6 million to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) for a project to save the Kangaroo Island dunnart from extinction.

The creature was already on the precipice when fires devastated 95 per cent of its habitat.

AWC CEO Tim Allard said action was needed now.

The project will initially secure a small section of the remaining habitat from predators and then rapidly expand the area.

It is hoped the project will also help populations of other threatened species like the southern brown bandicoot, the glossy black cockatoo, the southern emu wren, the Kangaroo Island short-beaked echidna, the heath goanna and the Bassian thrush.

In Queensland, WIRES is contributing to projects aimed at saving another of Australia’s most endangered mammals — the rare northern bettong.

There are fewer than 1,000 of the macropods left in the world and they are important because they distribute plants and fungi in the environment.

AWC will put a fence around the Mount Zero-Taravale Wildlife Sanctuary in north Queensland in an effort to provide a safe haven.

“The Mount Zero-Taravale Wildlife Sanctuary is known to have supported a population of northern bettongs that sadly went extinct [there] before we purchased the property,” Mr Allard said.

With so many animals injured in the Black Summer fires, building new and better wildlife hospitals is a priority.

WIRES provided more that $300,000 for an extension to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital in southern Queensland.

That money will provide increased capacity for triage, examination and treatment, and to treat animals for extended periods of time.

More than 1,500 native animals were admitted there from November to January — about 100 animals a day at the peak of the bushfires.

Wildlife volunteer Amy Wregg was working with a trauma care group at the showgrounds at Canungra during that period.

A lot of animals were euthanased on the fireground as most would not have recovered from their injuries, even with hospital care, and there were often long delays for carers to get into burnt areas.

“It took a few days to access the fireground as we had to get clearance from the Queensland fire service to do our ‘black walks,'” Ms Wregg said.

Despite the challenges, she wants to focus on the successes and is hopeful she can make a difference.

“We ended up rescuing 19 koalas just from from one ridge,” Ms Wregg said.

“We have to be hopeful; if you’re not, you’ve got nothing else to go for.”

WIRES also funded a new animal ambulance that will respond to animal emergencies in the region.

Michael Pyne, senior vet at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, believes the task of saving Australia’s unique wildlife is achievable.

“I think the will is there … the know-how is there. It’s really about finding the dollars to be able to make it happen,” he said.

Another animal hospital on the east coast got a tremendous injection of funds.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital launched a Go-Fund Me campaign during the fires, hoping to raise $25,000, but in the end that climbed to $8 million.

Sue Ashton, president of Koala Conservation Australia, said they were amazed by the response.

But like the Celeste Barber campaign that raised $51 million for the NSW Rural Fire Service, there are strict Go-Fund Me limitations on how that money can be spent.

The hospital has launched a major partnership with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Australian Museum and the University of Sydney to start breeding and replacing koalas in areas devastated by the fires.

It is also funding 140 drinking stations in critical habitat across several states, something other groups like WIRES are also funding.

Ms Taylor said that despite the tragic impact of the fires, there had never been this much money available to support wildlife carers.

“So those outcomes for hundreds of thousands of animals that come into care each year will be vastly improved.”

The task of saving Australia’s unique wildlife has never been so big.

The WWF has launched an even more ambitious plan to raise $300 million over 10 years to protect wildlife and restore habitat.

But WWF’s Darren Grover said the task was getting more difficult, not less.

Thank you for stopping to visit My Local Pages. We Hope you enjoyed checking this news article regarding “News & What’s On in Queensland’s Gold Coast Region” named “Animal rescue groups race to save Australia’s bushfire-hit wildlife with nearly $200 million in donations “. This story was brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our VIC events and what’s on local news services.

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$2.3 million in donations roll in for breast cancer foundation on Jane McGrath Day

A reduced crowd might have been on deck at the SCG on Saturday for Jane McGrath Day but that didn’t stop an unprecedented amount in donations rolling in as part of a concept to sell virtual pink seats, thought up months ago in case COVID-19 spoiled the Sydney Test.

McGrath Foundation ambassador and director Tracy Bevan said she was “astounded” at the generosity of Australians, who have donated more than $2.3 million this year in what organisers say is the biggest fundraising effort ever from 13 years of pink Tests. The previous highest figure of $1.76 million was raised during the 2017-18 Ashes series.

Australian skipper Tim Paine leads out his team wearing McGrath Foundation pink caps.Credit:Getty

Even though only 10,075 supporters made their way through the turnstiles on day three, there was no shortage of pink attire in the stands as those in attendance remembered Australian fast bowling great Glenn McGrath’s wife, Jane, who died from breast cancer in 2008.

With fewer volunteers walking around the SCG and unable to sell as many pink bandanas as normal, the foundation decided to sell virtual pink seats instead at a cost of $20 each.

Thanks for dropping by and seeing this news release about Australian Sports and related news called “$2.3 million in donations roll in for breast cancer foundation on Jane McGrath Day”. This news update was presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

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Food Donation Network to help increase food donations in town | Goulburn Post

news, local-news,

There’s a push to increase food donations in regional communities. That’s where the Food Donation Network, a government funded project, comes into play. The network held a forum at Workspace on Wednesday, December 9 to unite local community organisations like with local supermarkets. READ ALSO: Girl power: St Josephs primary pair rise to the top in public speaking In attendance were Woolworths, Coles, Southern Youth Family Services, the Salvation Army, Anglicare, Our Community Pantry and Saint Saviours Cathedral. A Food Donation Network spokesperson said the aim of the project was to divert food from landfills and into communities. “The project will reduce methane emissions caused by food waste and will help those in need,” the spokesperson said. READ ALSO: CSU, Goulburn City Lions Club, Vinnies, 2GN and Can Assist all give to the community “Using an empowering and locally driven approach, the project will engage charities and supermarkets to work together in sustaining a long-term food donation program.” Goulburn Mulwaree Council mayor Bob Kirk was completely supportive of the project. “This project has so many benefits for our region such as donating excess food to those who really need it, but also in diverting waste away from our landfills,” Cr Kirk said. READ ALSO: Urology department gains upgrade in equipment at hospital “I encourage our supermarkets, restaurants and cafes to get on board.” The project will also involve the Yass Valley Council and the Upper Lachlan Shire Council. For those interested in becoming a food donor or interested in distributing rescued food to the community, contact Jessica Fordyce on 0435 592 612. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.



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Some of Australia’s biggest companies paid more in political donations than tax in 2018-19 | Australia news

New data has revealed that 192 of Australia’s biggest companies paid tax of 10% or less of their profit in 2018-19, including seven that paid more in political donations than they did in tax.

Companies paying little or no tax in 2019, despite declaring a profit, range from the local arm of US fossil fuel giant Chevron, Chevron Australia Holdings, which had taxable income of $900m but zero tax payable, and Wilson Parking Australia 1992, the operator of Wilson Parking car parks in Australia, which paid no tax on a profit of $2.76m.

The corporate tax rate in Australia is 30% but deductions legitimately available to companies mean many pay less.

Tattarang Capital, a company owned by mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and his wife Nicola, paid tax of just under $400,000 on taxable income of $149.5m – a rate of about 0.36%.

A spokesman for the company said tax had been paid on the company’s income “by virtue of Australia’s franking credits system”. Tattarang Capital received $148.2m in dividends from shareholdings in Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group, which FMG had already paid the tax on. The $400,000 paid to the ATO represented the tax on the remaining $1.3m in income.

Electoral Commission data shows Chevron Australia Holdings made political donations of $129,685 in 2019 – an election year which saw the return to power of the Morrison government – spread across the Labor party, Liberal party and Nationals.

Other companies paying more in donations than in tax included oil and gas group Santos, which also paid no tax and made $148,354 in donations, spread among the same three political parties.

While Chevron has previously been in the ATO’s crosshairs over its tax arrangements, many gas companies also have very large deductions available due to the gigantic amounts of money they have poured into developing new fields in Australia.

A Chevron Australia spokesman said the company “made an accounting loss in the year ended 31 December 2018”.

“Given our stage in the project lifecycle, this is no surprise,” he said.

The ATO on Thursday published data about the revenue, taxable income and tax paid by more than 2,000 of Australia’s biggest companies under transparency laws brought in by the Gillard government.

About 32% of the companies in the data release paid no tax at all, usually because they made a loss.

The ATO deputy commissioner, Rebecca Saint, told Guardian Australia companies could pay no tax for a range of legitimate reasons.

“That can be because of where they’re at in the economic cycle, during the construction phase for example but not yet generating revenue,” she said.

“They are then not going to be paying tax at that point. Equally when they start to generate revenue they will have carry forward losses that they’re able to use in those forward periods that mean they won’t pay tax. We need to accept that that is completely legitimate and reasonable to expect.”

In 2019, Glencore Holdings, a subsidiary of Swiss mining and commodity trading group Glencore, paid $11m in tax on $110m in profit – a rate of 10%.

Tax transparency table 2018-19

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How even the COVID-19 crisis could not stop bone marrow donations getting through

When a compatible bone marrow donor is found for someone in need, it must reach them in fewer than 48 hours — no mean feat if they are on the other side of the world.

The COVID-19 crisis bought the planet spinning to a halt, grounding planes, yet it has failed to stop the process of stem cell delivery.

Transplants can be a matter of life and death for those with a blood disease so transplant centres have been forced to take decisive action during the pandemic.

The donations are no longer transported fresh but are cryogenically frozen in anticipation of longer delivery times.

Relays of couriers were organised at borders to move the precious bone marrow, while the crew members of planes were asked to escort the cooler bags to their destinations.

Some of the couriers have not been home for months, flying from one end of the globe to the other and sleeping in airport lounges.

In Spain, the airport civil guard facilitated one exchange between transporters who were unable to meet and in another, military planes collected stem cells from Turkey to save a child in Rome.

Nonetheless, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt in the sector.

Volunteers on donor registers have practically halved in Europe during 2020 and when looking at the situation in the EU’s largest countries, everywhere tells the same story.

Compared to last year, the new donors recorded in Italy were down 49%, 37% in Spain and 40% in Germany, while France is hoping to sign up 58% of the people it did in 2019.

In the UK, the situation is far from rosy; in Leeds, for example, 50 people have registered so far in November compared to 950 the previous year.

In Italy, the Bone Marrow Donors Association (ADMO) was forced to stop events aimed at raising awareness for the cause in schools and universities, as well as meetings in sports centres and town squares.

In France and Spain, during the first wave of the coronavirus, new registrations were suspended for four months, meanwhile, in Germany, events dedicated to blood donations were put on standby due to a ban on gatherings.

Luckily, however, the decline in the number of new registrations has not caused a reduction in the number of donations and there have been very few occasions when a life-saving transplant has been postponed or cancelled.

Why does Germany tally so many donor registrations?

Some countries, like Germany, managed to register 827,000 new donors in 2019, while others, such as Italy and Spain – that have fragmented regional healthcare systems – managed to log 49,000 and 36,000 new names respectively.

But even in some countries where the healthcare system is public and centralised, like in France, they still haven’t managed to match the German numbers, with just 27,000 signing up.

In Germany a registration costs between €35 and €45, while in Italy this figure rises to €250 per sample and that’s excluding the costs of healthcare staff.

Why are there such marked differences between European countries? In Italy, NGOs like ADMO, as well as Adoces and Adisco, are responsible for registering and taking samples. The only register in Italy is found in Genoa.

Add to this limits on the number of registrations that are funded by the state, as well as the high cost of the activity that precedes the collection of the kits, such as those of promotion, which Rome is not able to finance.

Germany is home to the main pool of donors in Europe, where a tenth of the eligible population (between 18 and 55 years) is on the register and is able to export 70% of bone marrow harvested from its citizens to help patients outside of Germany.

The German system relies on 26 independent donor centres, which are mostly private or connected to universities or transfusion centres.

Each is in charge of its own funding and recruitment strategies, has no relationship with local authorities and is able to reinvest the money raised through private donations in registering new donors.

In France, the 29 centres that recruit volunteers are linked to transplant centres, often encapsulated in structures that facilitate blood donation or public hospitals.

Compared to Germany, says Dr Evelyne Marry, director of France’s Biomedicine Agency, “we made a choice on profiles based on quality, rather than quantity, focusing on young people (the younger the donor, the higher the chances of successful transplantation) and different geographical areas”.

The strategy is decided by Paris, while in the German Länder there is no central coordination.

Then there Spain, which since 2018 has decided to focus on donors under 40 — a choice that has inevitably reduced the number of registrations compared to previous years.

Here the system is entirely public; the numerous Spanish centres are governed by the country’s 17 autonomous communities, but each follows its own strategy for registering new donors.

“Nowhere, except in Galicia, do we use mouth swabs. Blood samples are used everywhere. Why? For so many reasons, even if none of them has anything to do with science,” said the Dr Enric Carreras, director of the Spanish bone marrow donor programme, managed by the Josep Carreras Foundation.

Carreras said no communication campaigns have been carried out since the beginning of the pandemic by his private non-profit foundation, which manages registrations for the state.

“For now, people are not thinking about donations, but they are worried about saving themselves and not getting infected,” he said.

“This year there has been some decline in donations and transplants but not because of a lack of donors, but because hospitals have had to cancel planned operations due to a lack of beds,” according to Carreras. “If there is no bed in the ICU, in case of post-transplant complications, the surgery must be cancelled.”

During the first wave, “those from Girona could not go to Barcelona to make the donation,” he said, but added the foundation had found solutions to the problems posed by the pandemic “in one way or another”.

A donor hub in the Netherlands

All the donors registered in the various countries of the world end up in the WMDA, based in the Netherlands, a sort of world database that brings together 135 interconnected sources and registers. It has over 37 million potential donors.

“Thirty years ago, before the internet, it was basically a huge telephone directory with the names of potential donors,” says Joannis Mytilineos, director of the German register ZKRD.

Whenever a hospital makes a request, a search is activated globally — the marrow is sold by one transplant centre and purchased by another, with the national registry acting as an intermediary.

Countries set their own prices; the cost of one unit from Germany is between 14,000 and 17,000 euros. A marrow that comes from the USA, on the other hand, can cost as much as 30,000 dollars.

About 37% of stem cells transplanted worldwide from donors other than family members come from Germany.

Mytilineos, who has Greek origins, says German donors are compatible with so many people abroad “because of our migratory past, which DNA keeps track of”.

Obviously, it is cheaper for national health systems to find donors at home and not just for greater genetic compatibility between subjects. “A transplant from Spain to Spain costs € 4,500, less than a third of the marrow purchased from abroad,” said Carreras.

But Marry points out: “We are not competing between registers. Each country has its own rules, there are those who have public funding, those who are private, but the philosophy of registers around the world is to raise awareness and the machine of international solidarity work.”

Bone marrow donors are “an international community, the inefficiency of one country is overcome by other countries, but every country strives for the best,” concludes Mytilineos.

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I-T raids Kerala evangelist, his churches’ group on charges of siphoning donations meant for poor

NEW DELHI: The Income-tax department has raided multiple premises of a self-styled evangelist from Kerala that allegedly “siphoned off” tax exempted funds and donations received from abroad for the poor and channeled them into real estate and personal investments, the CBDT said on Friday.

The searches were carried out on Thursday at 66 premises in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Chandigarh, Punjab and Telangana.

The action was carried out, the CBDT said in a statement, of a well-known self-styled evangelist of Thiruvalla (Kerala) and his group of various trusts that enjoy exemption under the I-T Act of 1961 as charitable or religious trusts.

While the statement did not identify the group, I-T department sources identified it as the Believer’s eastern church.

“The group operates places of worship, a number of schools and colleges across the country, a medical college and a hospital in Kerala,” the statement said.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is the administrative authority for the tax department.

It said “unexplained cash of about 6 crore has also been found during the raids including Rs 3.85 crore in a place of worship in Delhi.”

“Substantial electronic computing and data storage has been found, which is being examined,” the CBDT said.

The Board said the searches were carried out as “credible information was received that the group has received donations from foreign countries ostensibly for helping the poor and the destitute and for evangelical purposes but was actually siphoning out such tax-exempted funds in cash to engage in unaccounted cash transactions for personal and other illegal expenses in real estate transactions.”

It said the Thiruvalla-based group operates about 30 trusts, registered across the country, and most of them “exist only on paper and have been found to be used for routing unaccounted funds and for accommodation (hawala) transactions.”

“It has been found that the modus operandi of the group is to systematically inflate expenses with the help of other parties who would return the inflated amount in cash through domestic hawala channels to the functionaries of the group,” it said.

“Some of these other parties were also covered in the search action,” it said.

During the raids, it said, evidences have been found of “systematic inflation of expenses in purchase of consumables, construction expenses, real estate development expenses, payment of salary etc.”

“The search has led to unearthing of a number of real estate transactions involving unaccounted cash payments. Related documents such as sale agreements etc. have been seized. The group has also inflated the price in real estate transactions to show as if the money received in donations is being spent on the activities of the trusts,” it said.

“The evidence found so far indicate that the siphoning of funds in cash may be running into hundreds of crores of rupees,” it added.

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Three HBCUs announce they received the largest donations in the schools’ histories

Three historically Black colleges and universities announced Tuesday that they have each received the largest single donation in their schools’ history. Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Hampton University were all beneficiaries of massive donations.

Two of the schools, Howard and Hampton, announced that the donations came from MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos who announced earlier Tuesday that she has donated $1.7 billion of her fortune to charity. Although Xavier said their donor chose to remain anonymous, Scott announced that she had also donated to the university. 

“I would like to thank Ms. Mackenzie Scott for her investment into Howard University and our 153-year mission of serving a diverse community of dynamic scholars who come here for an education and leave here with purpose to serve the world,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement. “We plan to immediately put this eight-figure gift to good use to support components of our 5-year strategic plan to help students graduate on time, retain our talented faculty, enhance our campus infrastructure and support academic innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Howard did not disclose the amount it received — but Xavier said it was given $20 million. 

“The institution is known for its long history of producing more African American MDs than any other institution in the United States, also federal judges, civil rights attorneys, renowned artists and musicians, business leaders, and elected officials – serving on local, state and national levels,” Xavier said in a statement announcing the donation.

MacKenzie Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his then-wife MacKenzie Bezos pose as they arrive at the headquarters of publisher Axel-Springer in 2018.

Jorg Carstensen / Getty

Hampton University — which received a donation from Scott but did not reveal the amount — said they are looking into several areas where the money could be spent, including scholarships, upgrades to science labs and the campus as a whole. Money could also go to the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, “where lives are saved daily from the devastating effects of cancer,” the university said in a statement.

In a Medium post, Scott said she enlisted a team of non-profit advisers with representation from marginalized communities to help her identify the most effective charities to fund. 

“I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions,” she wrote. 

Scott, 50, is believed to be the third-richest woman in the country, with a net worth of $36 billion, according to Forbes. Most of her wealth comes from her 4% stake in Amazon, which was part of her divorce settlement.   

Megan Cerullo contributed reporting.

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OzHarvest market meets rising food demand but fewer donations prompt unprecedented steps

Getting through the week without worrying about food can be a challenge for 83-year-old Maria Marskell.

Money is tight for the pensioner and COVID-19 has added to her stress.

But the Waterloo resident said her spirit had been lifted in recent weeks with the opening of an OzHarvest market nearby.

The food rescue charity launched the initiative to provide vulnerable inner-city residents with access to essential supplies.

The opening came at a challenging time for the charity, with rising demand and dwindling donations forcing it to buy food for the first time.

The charity has opened a new market in Waterloo to feed vulnerable residents.(ABC Radio Sydney: Matt Bamford)

COVID-19 causing spike in new clients

The market is housed inside a refurbished grocery store among one of inner Sydney’s most established social housing estates.

Open from Friday to Monday, it serves donated food supplies to around 300 customers per day.

When the ABC stopped by on a recent morning, a line of socially distanced locals stretched around the side of the building.

Inside, masked helpers handed out a range of fresh vegetables, milk and bread.

It was Ms Marskell’s third visit to the store and a rare opportunity to leave her home.

“It’s lovely to see everyone from the community here, and this is very important for me to get my food for the week,” she said.

It is not just pensioners like Ms Marskell who need help, OzHarvest has noticed that many people are accessing food relief for the first time.

“Our customer base has changed quite a lot and continues to change,” a spokeswoman said.

New customers include international students and an increasing number of families and individuals that suddenly lost income streams during the pandemic.

A line of customers stand outside the OzHarvest market at Waterloo, 2020.
The store feeds around 300 customers every day.(ABC Radio Sydney: Matt Bamford)

Donations drop while demand increases

Waterloo resident Daniel Stuart said the market was a “blessing” for the many local people who struggled with poverty and health problems.

“When you don’t get treated with dignity, that’s when every bad thing that has happened to you comes back. So that’s why things like this are good,” he said.

It is a service that local and state governments want to support, with a $1 million grant from the City of Sydney and a long-term lease from the NSW Land and Housing Corporation.

While demand has risen, COVID-fuelled panic buying in the early stages of the pandemic and uncertainty in the hospitality sector has threatened the charity’s food reserves.

With a return to normalcy nowhere in sight, OzHarvest has been forced to buy food for the first time in its 16-year history.

Chief executive Ronni Kahn said OzHarvest was looking for more companies to become regular donors.

“OzHarvest is committed to feeding as many people as possible, and has expanded its services beyond the usual food rescue operations to offer new emergency food relief.”

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Woman sentenced for claiming more than $400 in donations by posing as a bushfire victim

A South Australian woman has been been handed a suspended sentence after she was caught posing as a bushfire victim to defraud charities.

Sarah Treloar, from the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, falsely made the claim after the devastating Cudlee Creek bushfires in order to obtain donated money and goods from bushfire relief organisations.

Last week, she pleaded guilty to three counts of deception and one count of attempted deception, and was today given a four-week suspended jail sentence.

In total, Treloar dishonestly received more than $400 in money, clothes, Christmas presents and boxes of food donated by the public.

She also deceived a checkout attendant who paid for her groceries and gave her $50 after she told him she had lost everything in the fires.

The court heard Treloar, 36, claimed to be living in a domestic violence shelter that had burned down in order to obtain the money but, at the time, she was living in a caravan on her parents’ Murray Bridge property.

She is the sole carer for her two children, and is now undergoing treatment for mental health issues, and had previously been a victim of domestic violence.

Magistrate Paul Bennett acknowledged Treloar’s difficult circumstances.

“At the time this occurred, and still now, you were living with the physical, mental and financial consequences of domestic violence,” he said.

“You were in a difficult situation but that does not excuse falsely pretending to be a victim of the Cudlee Creek bushfires.”

The magistrate said her crimes were more serious than their monetary value.

Magistrate Bennett said he hoped a suspended sentence would deter others from deceiving relief charities in the future.

Treloar will remain on a good behaviour bond for nine months.

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Donations Delivered to Housing Estates Under COVID-19 Lockdown in Melbourne

Donated merchandise ended up sent to general public housing estates in Melbourne, Victoria, on July 6 immediately after residents were being put beneath lockdown by the state govt owing to an outbreak of COVID-19. Baggage of merchandise have been dropped at the doorstep of a single of the locked-down estates in the Melbourne suburb of Flemington by persons which include the previous Federal Opposition Leader Monthly bill Shorten. Residents have obtained two months of rent reduction and every house is qualified for hardship payments of up to $1500. There ended up 127 new scenarios of coronavirus in Victoria on July 6, according to the state’s Section of Wellness and Human Services. On July 6, the neighbouring point out of New South Wales declared it would be closing its border with Victoria in reaction to the boost in situations about the preceding 7 days. Credit rating: Girmay Mengesha by using Storyful

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