“We will work with clubs and state bodies to determine the best and most effective approach to support those communities and also how we raise funds and also honour the thousands of volunteers firefighters and emergency services and support agencies who are working around the clock to protect and support so many communities across Australia.”
With bushfires still active and threatening many towns throughout the country the recovery plan is not yet a priority for many of the affected communities.
However the AFL is aware that once the time is right they will need to play a long-term role in supporting communities throughout the country – many with local football teams and competitions – to deal with the multiple issues the fires are expected to present.
Teams in the AFL Sapphire Coast League include Merimbula, Moruya and Pambula while the Omeo District Football League include clubs from Buchan, Swifts Creek and Bruthen.
The Western Bulldogs and Essendon played a bushfire relief match after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that raised $1.2 million while clubs and players contributed to the recovery.
Other sports and athletes have also vowed to support the bushfire cause, including three of Australia’s top tennis talents – Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur and John Millman – who pledged to donate money all summer long.
Top jockeys Damian Lane and Tom Berry have pledged to donate $250 to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal for every winner they ride in January. Lane won the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate in the spring carnival.