Bushfires in Australia: Veolia comes alongside those worst hit

At the height of the unprecedented fires that struck Australia from June 2019 to February 2020, Veolia ANZ (Australia & New Zealand) provided financial and material aid to those most affected, as well as supporting firefighters. Veolia ANZ has a long history of supporting the local communities in which it operates, and was able to offer this assistance thanks to its skilled approach to risk management and resilience, along with a keen awareness of the effects of climate change.
Published in the dossier of May 2020

Veolia Mulwaree Trust

Created in 2005 by Veolia ANZ, the Veolia Mulwaree Trust is a foundation that organizes the management and distribution of funds to different not-for-profit organizations in the Goulburn region and the surrounding area.

More than ever keen to embody Veolia’s active aim of conserving and rehabilitating the environment, the Trust distinguished itself during the forest fires.

Through this entity, for the past fifteen years Veolia has been providing regular financial support to local communities for an array of buildings and infrastructure: schools, sporting facilities, parks, emergency services, etc.

To contribute to the artistic and cultural dynamism of the region, the Veolia Mulwaree Trust also funds a number of academic and creative arts scholarships each year. Since 2005, it has distributed more than 11 million Australian dollars, used to support over 1,200 local community projects.

The fires in the second half of 2019 caused the death of over one billion animals and the destruction of eight million hectares of vegetation across Australia as a whole. This phenomenon was particularly devastating in the states of Victoria and New South Wales, where Veolia is present. The Group mobilized all its resources on the ground in the face of this environmental, human and material disaster. Veolia was able to count on the spirit of solidarity shown by its staff across the country, who volunteered to provide daily help to the hardest-hit communities. At Veolia’s Woodlawn1 eco-precinct in Tarago (New South Wales) and in the surrounding area, Veolia’s employees took part in operations to clean up and remove several thousand metric tons of asbestoscontaminated waste from homes devastated by fire.

Thanks to Veolia’s tank trucks, the Woodlawn ecoprecinct also supplied water directly to the Rural Fire Service’s response units. This volunteer-based rural firefighting agency (under the government of New South Wales) found itself on the frontline facing the flames. Veolia provided crucial support on a national scale to the Australian Defence Forces within the framework of the Bushfire Assist2 operation. Their response actions included clearing 4,848 km of roads, purifying 3,880,000 liters of water on Kangaroo Island, and delivering over 76,260 meals to shelters for emergency service personnel and evacuees. Four charities3 benefited from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust’s (see boxed text) donation of 200,000 Australian dollars (over 110,000 euros), matched by another donation of the same amount by Veolia ANZ that went to a further six charities4. This financial support totaling 400,000 Australian dollars was directly used to come to the aid of many local communities, in particular by providing them with essential equipment, such as portable toilets and showers (also accessible for people with a disability), electric generators, freshwater tanks, etc.

Read also: Henry Gundy, Woodlawn Eco-Precinct Manager Tarago, New South Wales Australia

1. Forming the hub of a network of interconnected green projects, the Woodlawn eco-precinct hosts infrastructure designed and managed by Veolia. It receives waste from the city of Sydney and transforms it into a number of different resources: biogas for electrical generation and waste heat for aquaculture products. Attached to the facility is an agricultural enterprise where sheep and cattle are raised on Veolia’s 15,000 acres of farmland.
2. Operation Bushfire Assist 2019-2020
3. Rural Aid, Blazeaid, Wildlife Rescue South Coast, WIRES
4. Conservation Volunteers Australia, Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, Wildlife Victoria, Native Animal Trust Fund, Aussie Ark - Australia Action Fund and Wangi Men’s Shed.