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Media releases

Westpac extends support to communities affected by natural disasters


23 October 2013

  • $250,000 set aside for a new fund to help re-building and recovery efforts following natural disasters
  • $200,000 donated to The Salvation Army’s Australian Disaster Relief Appeal

Westpac has today announced that it is donating $450,000 to help communities affected by natural disasters such as bushfires, of which $250,000 will be used to support local re-building and recovery efforts and $200,000 will go direct to The Salvation Army's Australian Disaster Relief Appeal.

Announcing the initiatives, including the creation of a new disaster recovery community fund, Brian Hartzer, chief executive of Westpac Group's Australian Financial Services division, said today: "We understand this is a very difficult time for our customers and those communities impacted by the relentless bushfires across NSW.

"While we’re doing everything we can on the ground to respond to the disaster in a swift and caring manner, I know these initiatives will go a long way to help people rebuild their lives after such a devastating loss. I would also like to emphasise our thanks and appreciation to our people who are volunteering with the emergency services, or working tirelessly to help our customers when they need us most.”

The new disaster recovery community fund, to be administered by the Westpac Group, will invite applications from local communities who have been affected by natural disasters and need financial help to re-build community facilities that have been destroyed or damaged. Applications will be made through branches and then considered by a panel of local and national representatives.

The creation of the new fund comes almost 200 years after the Bank of NSW, the predecessor of the Westpac Group, launched the first disaster relief fund in Australia to help victims of the Hawkesbury River flood in NSW in 1817-18.

Mr Hartzer added: "We know through long experience just how damaging the impact that natural disasters such as bushfires, floods and cyclones can have on the communities that we are proud to serve and where our staff also live and work. Once those dangers have receded I want to assure them that we at Westpac will do everything we can to help them.”

The $200,000 donation from Westpac to The Salvation Army’s Australian Disaster Relief Appeal includes equal contributions from Westpac Retail and Business Bank and St George Bank.

The Salvos are a long-term community partner of Westpac Group, with teams currently on the ground providing support by feeding the Rural Fire Service and helping people who have lost their homes.

Personal donations to the Australian Disaster Relief Appeal can be made through Westpac branches or online, quoting the following information

Account Name: The Salvation Army;
BSB Number: 032006;
Account Number: 810633;
Serial Number: 111111.

Today's announcements come after Westpac last week unveiled a relief package to assist customers who are suffering hardship as a result of the latest bushfires in NSW.

The Disaster Relief Package offers immediate financial help to customers affected by the bushfires, with Westpac staff providing additional support for those in need through the local branches and contact centres. This includes BT’s insurance assessors who are working on the ground to process claims for affected customers as soon as possible.