The devastating bushfire season has been unprecedented. Our communities on the eastern coast have now endured three extreme weather events back to back. There's been drought, the wide-spread bushfires, and – most recently – heavy rain and floods.
At AGL, we're committed to doing what we can – not just now, but in the months and years to come – to help our communities recover and rebuild from these disasters. Our people have been dedicating their time and resources towards organisations that are delivering much-needed relief to those who have been impacted.
New South Wales
In response to this, our people at AGL Macquarie recently held a series of breakfast barbecues to raise much-needed funds for the Rural Fire Service, the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc (WIRES), and the Red Cross.
The first of these barbecues was held at Bayswater power station, where more than 200 people showed their support. Our people held three more barbecues throughout January and sold ice creams at Liddell and Bayswater power stations – raising a combined total of more than $4,000 for these worthy causes.
AGL and Southern Phone have also donated $100,000 to assist communities and welfare organisations on the New South Wales south coast. This includes $40,000 for a Eurobodalla Emergency Relief Fund, $30,000 for the South Coast branch of WIRES and $30,000 for RSPCA's Bushfire Appeal.
Over in South Australia, our people at AGL Torrens also sprang into action to lend a helping hand.
Sonia Oke, Community Relations Manager, and Kristen Mackenzie, Group Operations Coordinator, organised a collection of non-perishable food items to be donated to Foodbank SA.
’It has been great to give some assistance to people who were impacted by the fires,’ Kristen said.
’Not only is it important to help people during hard times, but it is also great to empower people at Torrens to feel like they were making a difference and contributing.’
Our people at AGL Torrens also hosted a sausage sizzle that raised over $2,000 for the SA Bushfire Appeal, Country Fire Service Foundation, and Adelaide Koala Rescue.
Beyond the human and community impacts, there has also been an impact on Australia flora and fauna. The University of Sydney estimates that more than a billion animals have died during the fires.
Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is Australasia’s largest practical conservation organisation. It has recently been selected by the Federal Government to coordinate the national environmental volunteering response to the bushfire crisis.
AGL has been a proud partner of CVA for several years, and we are now working with the organisation closely to develop a volunteer program for our people to assist with the Adelaide Hills bushfire recovery program. The program is set to begin in March and will see a team of 15 people from AGL Torrens, including Terry Jobling – Head of Torrens and Barker Inlet Power Stations – volunteering in the recovery efforts.
AGL has donated $200,000 to the local Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), and we’ve matched donations that our people have made. GERF has now exceeded their initial target of $5 million. Our people at the AGL Loy Yang mine have also raised more than $3,500 for hay, fodder and other supplies – all of which was matched by AGL.
Many other AGL Loy Yang employees have been involved in other fundraising and bushfire assistance activities.
In our Melbourne offices, several teams from our Customer Markets division hosted morning teas and bake sales, raising donations for the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
The Future Business & Technology team are also hosting trivia events to raise funds for the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund established by Zoos Victoria. The first trivia night was held earlier this month and was a huge success, with the winning team awarded a koala adoption from the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
All of these grassroots activities organised by our people – combined with the generosity of many more of our teams and individuals, and AGL’s matched donations through our Power to Give platform – have raised more than $60,000 (as at 25 February) for the organisations providing relief to those who have been impacted by the bushfires.
The recovery and rebuild is only just beginning in some cases – and it hasn’t even begun in others. We recognise that after the initial effort, there will still be more to do.
We’ll be continually looking for ways to support our customers, people, and the communities to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.
If you have been impacted by the bushfires, you can call AGL’s dedicated bushfire relief helpline on 1300 001 545.