Minderoo Foundation founders Andrew and Nicola Forrest announce their donation. Picture: Colin Murty
Minderoo Foundation founders Andrew and Nicola Forrest announce their donation. Picture: Colin Murty

Extreme response to $70m donation

He was universally praised for his whopping $70 million donation but that hasn't stopped people jumping in with criticism.

While most applauded Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest for his massive donation to the bushfire crisis, people were quick to say it was just chump change that will help him avoid tax.

Yesterday the WA mining magnate and his wife, Nicola, announced they will spend $50 million on a "national blueprint" for fire and disaster resilience to develop new approaches to fight the threat of bushfires.

In addition, he will provide $10 million through the couple's Minderoo Foundation to build a "volunteer army" to deploy to regions devastated by bushfires and another $10 million for communities in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other agencies on the ground.

But Brisbane Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri said it was just a PR exercise.

"This supposed $70 million donation to bushfire relief is chump change to him," he wrote on Facebook.

"A pensioner with $1000 in the bank who donates 50 cents to bushfire victims is making a far bigger sacrifice and showing far more generosity than Andrew Forrest."

Many others took to social media to express views, some questioning where the money was going, with a chunk of it being channelled back into Mr Forrest's own foundation.





Others jumped to Forrest's defence.

"Let's be grateful to everyone and anyone who is willing to help, regarding of wealth or non wealth," wrote one woman on Twitter.

"This fire needs to be put out asap."

"We should be grateful the bloke is donating that much," another person said.

"He must be a good bloke. Good on him."

Another man wrote, "He doesn't have to give a cent. I'm very happy to see another Australian give that much to his countrymen and women."

Mr Forrest said he hoped to raise $500 million through a global campaign to establish a long-term bushfire research project.

"We are stepping up, as we did for the Black Saturday bushfires, to go out to the communities in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, find out what you need, what your families need, what your communities need and to help you, not rebuild to perhaps what you had, but to plan for what could be - what may be even better," he said.

Later he clarified his stance on climate change after first pointing to arson as a major contributor to the bushfire season.

He said while global warming was part of the reason for the devastation, "the biggest part" was arsonists.

In a statement issued later in the day, Mr Forrest said he "unequivocally" believed climate change was real and he accepted the warming of our planet was a "primary cause of the catastrophic events".

"I do not want people to think that criminal behaviour, while reprehensible, is the main reason for the devastation this bushfire season," he said.

"Arson may be responsible for starting fires in some cases, but it is not the reason the fires have reached the proportions they have through this season and it is not the reason they have continued for so long."