The bushfire crisis gripping Australia is one of the worst natural disasters our country has faced. At what should be a cheerful time of year, people are losing their homes, their businesses and their lives, while courageous firefighters battle to bring the fires under control.

Like all Australians, the team at The Lottery Office are deeply shocked and saddened by what we’ve seen, but we are lending a hand to those who have been directly impacted by these devastating fires through donating to causes that will help those in most need.

To assist in saving and protecting native wildlife, The Lottery Office has donated $10,000 to Zoos Victoria as it is estimated that as many as half a billion animals have already perished in the fires, including many endangered species. The Lottery Office applauds the tireless work of those at Zoos Victoria and other wildlife organisations for their dedication to saving our precious fauna.

In addition, we’ve donated $10,000 to the Victorian Government bushfire appeal, with money raised being used to provide practical relief and recovery across fire-affected areas. Via the New South Wales Rural Fire Service we’ve also donated a total of $15,000 to support the grieving families of firefighters Geoffrey Keaton, Andrew O'Dwyer and Samuel McPaul, who lost their lives fighting the blazes.

And to help those in Queensland who have been displaced by the fires, or who have had their homes damaged and destroyed, The Lottery Office has donated $10,000 to Queensland-based charity Givit.org.au. One hundred percent of the funds raised through this initiative will be used to purchase essential items to help thousands of people get back on their feet once the immediate threat has subsided.

The Lottery Office CEO Jaclyn Wood said the organisation had been stunned and appalled by the sheer scale of the crisis and was committed to helping victims rebuild their lives.

“The Lottery Office has always been committed to helping those in our community in times of need and right now the people who need our support most are everyday Australians suffering devastation and heartache,” Ms Wood said.

“This is not how these families planned on celebrating their Christmas and New Year so if we can help bring them solace through donating to registered charities and appeals then this is something we encourage everyone to do.”

It is so far thought that more than 100,000 square kilometres of land has been burnt across Australia during this fire season and with no letup in sight every piece of assistance and funding can, and will, make a difference.

To donate to a bushfire cause you can visit the website of any of the below charitable organisations and donate what you can, as well as through other registered and official charity appeals that are currently running.

Bushfire donation appeals:

Zoos Victoria - https://www.zoo.org.au/fire-fund/

Victorian Government Bushfire appeal - https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal

New South Wales Rural Fire Service - https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/general-news/featured/support-for-firefighter-families

Givit.org.au - http://www.givit.org.au/items-needed