Here's how much Australia's billionaires have donated to relief efforts for the wildfires that have destroyed 25 million acres of land and have killed at least 28 people
- Wildfires have been tearing through Australia since late July, damaging more than 3,000 homes and killing at least 28 people.
- Australians including Celeste Barber, the comedian who organized the largest fundraiser in Facebook's history for wildfire relief efforts, have criticized the country's billionaires for not donating more.
- The largest known gift from an Australian came from mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, who donated $48 million.
- Some billionaires have gotten creative with their gifts, even donating through bids on Russell Crowe's online auction for the hat he wore while cleaning his fire-damaged property in November.
- An estimated 25 million acres of Australia's brush have burned, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and blanketing cities in dangerous smoke.
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Some Australians are not impressed by how their country's wealthiest citizens have responded to the country's disastrous wildfires.An estimated 25 million acres of Australia's brush have burned since September, killing at least 28 people, forcing hundreds of thousands of others to evacuate, and blanketing cities in dangerous smoke. Advertisement
Famous Aussie multimillionaires including Liam Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman have pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to relief efforts, but some business figures have been slower to respond publicly, leading to outrage online. The criticism on this front has largely been led by Australian comedian Celeste Barber, who led the largest Facebook fundraiser in the platform's history to benefit relief efforts.
Barber also called out the difference in billionaires' responses to the Australian fires and the Notre Dame fire in April 2019. Within hours of that incident, three French billionaires - who, it bears noting, are all significantly wealthier than anyone in Australia - had already pledged $565 million for restoration efforts, Business Insider's Katie Warren reported at the time.Barber tweeted: "Hey billionaires, Notre Dame burning down sucked. I get it. Times that by a trillion and that's what's happening in Australia. Feel free to flick us a quick couple of million. You make it seem pretty easy."
The criticism hasn't been limited to Australian billionaires, however. Jeff Bezos was slammed on Twitter after announcing that Amazon would be donating $690,000 - roughly the amount of money he makes in five minutes - to the recovery efforts, Business Insider reported.Here are the donations Australian billionaires made to recovery efforts, listed in chronological order. Business Insider will be updating this list as new donations are made.
Casino mogul James Packer was among the first Australian billionaires to donate, making two gifts totaling $3.45 million through his company and family foundation.
The cofounders of software company Atlassian, Michael Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, each donated $770,000.Advertisement
On December 27, real estate billionaires John and Pauline Gandel donated $690,380 to a group of organizations involved in the relief efforts.
On January 8, Gina Rinehart said she "privately" donated after being called out on Twitter.Advertisement
On January 9, Andrew Forrest made what is believed to be the largest private donation by an Australian to relief efforts.
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