Land transport giant ComfortDelGro announced on Monday that it has set aside A$250,000 to support employees and other members of its community who are affected by the bushfires raging across Australia. The money, put into a dedicated fund, will go towards supporting the immediate housing and living needs of affected families, and covering the short-term financial needs of individual employees.
ComfortDelGro has over 2,300 employees in Australia, many of them located in the worst-hit states of New South Wales and Victoria. While its operations have not been affected so far, a number of employees and their families have already had to evacuate the path of the fires, or outright lost their homes. Others are volunteering for the emergency services, which rely overwhelmingly on volunteer support to fight the bushfires—depending on the state, the proportion of volunteers in the fire service may run as high as 90 percent.
On top of monetary support, the company is also offering employee assistance counselling services for affected staff and their families. For the volunteers, it is extending extra paid leave and transport assistance to help ease the economic burden on them.
Nicholas Yap, the CEO of ComfortDelGro Australia, singled out the emergency services volunteers as especially deserving of appreciation. He said on Monday: “At this difficult time, we are keen to do what we can to help the families in need. Our special thank you goes to the emergency services and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need.”
He added that although ComfortDelGro’s Australian facilities are located in low-risk zones, the company has prepared emergency plans to keep its staff safe.
The Australian business community has rallied to support communities affected by the fires. On Tuesday, the Business Council of Australia announced a five-year rebuilding plan that will, among other things, create employment for volunteers and victims who have lost their livelihoods to the fires. The Council also called on its members, which include the biggest companies in the country, to extend at least 20 days of paid leave to employees who volunteer to fight the fires.