Bill aims to extend $51m Barber bushfire appeal to fire-affected communities

MOVING FORWARD: David Shoebridge visits Rosemary Beaumont's property outside Cobargo on Tuesday, where crews begin the bushfire clean-up.
MOVING FORWARD: David Shoebridge visits Rosemary Beaumont's property outside Cobargo on Tuesday, where crews begin the bushfire clean-up.

A bill aiming to share Celeste Barber's $51million bushfire appeal with those who lost their homes in the recent devastating fire season will come before state parliament.

Earlier this year the NSW Supreme Court ruled the funds could not be shared outside the NSW Rural Fire Service despite Ms Barber expressing her wishes to do so, although they could be used to support injured firefighters and the families of firefighters who died, the AAP reported.

In August, a bill will come before NSW parliament that aims to extend part of the the money to fire-affected communities and animal welfare organisations, with the fund's trustees empowered to work out where it was best shared.

"It was clear the people who desperately needed the money were the people who lost their homes," NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said.

"We fairly early on realised it wasn't going to be fixed by a court case as it was restricted to the terms of the trust.

"I don't think it's Celeste Barber's job to fix it... that's the job of parliament, to fix broken laws."

He was speaking on Tuesday at Rosemary Beaumont's property outside Cobargo, who lost one house in the summer's fires, infrastructure like fences and bridges, and as her property is a conservative area "the damage to the forest and wildlife is devastating", she said.

Ms Beaumont said if the bill was passed it would help people on the ground and honor the "generous" intentions of the fund's donors to support all of those affected by the fires.

"The needs are urgent and they have been for six months," she said.

"It's absurd we are in this situation, we're not a third-world country."

Sandra Taylor, who defended her property at Wandella from the fires with her partner but lost sheds, cabins and fences, said the $51million could be used to help in the rebuilding process for people in need.

She said she had received bushfire support money from charities which has "been handy" and Ms Beaumont was also grateful for help from those organisations, while also thanking the state government for its support to the region in terms of paying rates and sponsoring the clean-up.

"It's the federal government that's been missing in action in the fires for this community," Ms Beaumont said.

As a Greens' bill it could face opposition from a Coalition state government, but Mr Shoebridge said the purpose of a July inquiry into his party's proposed bill was to show its broad community support.

"When you explain the community support is so strong you can only hope the government is embarrassed into supporting it," he said.

"The other hope I have of it getting through is because the state government doesn't have any other solution."

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