Emergency response

The Business Council of Australia is working with the business community to help Australians suffering as a result of the bushfire crisis, coordinating to provide support. The Business Council has created two initiatives to help.

Information about these initiatives and how you can donate is below.

In partnership with Equity Trustees the Business Council has founded the Australian Volunteer Support Trust to assist the families of any volunteer in Australia who tragically loses their lives through their volunteer work.

The trust will be a permanent and ongoing fund to support the children of volunteers who have died fighting these fires and future disasters. Primarily, the trust will meet the ongoing educational needs of the children of volunteers who have given their lives. 

The trust will be effective from 1 July 2019 to include the current bushfires and administered by Equity Trustees to respond to the current situation and future emergencies. This initiative will aim to raise an initial sum of $25 million. 

The trust will be overseen by an advisory panel chaired by the Hon Jeff Kennett AC and supported by Jennifer Westacott AO, David Gonski AC, Dame Quentin Bryce, Lisa Paul AO, PSM, representatives from the Australian emergency service volunteer organisations and other prominent Australians.

For inquiries please contact us by email

The Business Council has established a Community Rebuilding Initiative, building a permanent capability to mobilise and co-ordinate the business community's response in times of tragedy and to act as an interface with federal and state authorities and established recovery agencies. 

The Community Rebuilding Initiative will run for five years, working closely with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to co-ordinate support from the business community. There are two focusses to the initiative:

    • short-term to act as an interface to coordinate efforts between the business community and governments, with a particular focus on:
      • getting people access to work
      • helping small businesses re-tool, and
      • identifying needs on the ground.
  • medium and longer-term rebuilding of businesses, community facilities that are vital to economic recovery (such as world class community halls), and industries – with a particular focus on tourism and agriculture.

An advisory committee, led by Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC (Mil) CVO MC (RETD), will oversee the initiative. Sir Peter will be joined by John Anderson AO, Rebecca Frizelle, Danny Gilbert AM, Richard Goyder AO, Katie Page, Tim Reed, Tony Shepherd AO, Yvonne von Hartel AM, Jennifer Westacott AO and Australian emergency services volunteer organisations.

In addition, this initiative will have a fund for cash contributions. These funds will be in trust managed by Equity Trustees.

For enquiries please contact us by email.

Businesses or individuals who would like to make a financial contribution to these initiatives can do so by directing funds to Equity Trustees account:


Account Name: Equity Trustees

BSB: 083 092

Account number: 570 808 888


Please nominate in the reference field the trust you are contributing to – AVST for the Australian Volunteer Support Trust and CRT for the Community Rebuilding Trust.

The trusts will be audited and report their activities regularly to the market.

More detail is avaliable online here.

Business Council members have made cash donations of more than $33 million to bushfire related charities and are committing millions more in in-kind support for affected communities. 

See here for a snapshot of what Business Council members are already doing in their communities.