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Red Tape Sees Celeste Barber’s NSW Rural Fire Service Fundraiser Stalled

The NSW Rural Fire Service have explained that despite Celeste Barber helping to kick off a campaign that raised more than $50 million, red tape is halting the allocation of the funds.

Image of comedienne Celeste Barber

Celeste Barber raised more than $50 million for those affected by the Australian bushfires.


A month-and-a-half after it was launched, the record-breaking fundraiser spearheaded by comedienne Celeste Barber has been held up due to some fine print and red tape.

When Barber set up a Facebook fundraiser earlier this year, she clearly had no idea just how big it would get. Attempting to raise money for the NSW Rural Fire Service and those affected by the devastating Australian bushfire season, the campaign’s initial goal was a modest $30,000.

Before long, the fundraiser went viral, attracting not only thousands, but millions of dollars from altruistic donors. In fact, the campaign generated more funds than Barber was able to keep up with, as its goal kept getting updated to a higher and higher number all the time.

As it stands, a total of $51,299,348 has been raised; more than 1,709% of her initial goal.

However, while Barber is out helping host the Fire Fight Australia concert in Sydney today, she does so with the knowledge that a bit of red tape has meant that the NSW Rural Fire Service is currently unable to properly allocate the money that’s been pledged.

As The Daily Telegraph reports, Barber’s lawyers are planning to get together with the RFS to try and work out an amicable solution to this bureaucratic nightmare, which has seen the organisation reveal that their guidelines mean the funds can only be spent on equipment, training, and resources rather than being given to the intended families and charities.

In a statement given to the newspaper, RFS spokesman Ben Shepherd explained that the organisation is attempting to follow the wishes of Barber and her donors, and are attempting to find a solution to the issue.

“No one is being bad about this, it’s all very amicable, and we will try and see her wishes through,” Shepherd explained. “But, as it stands, the RFS is the beneficiary and we can’t donate money people gave us to other charities.”

It’s currently unclear when the intended charities will get the money that has been pledged to them, though it’s likely a legal compromise will be made sometime in the near future.