Billionaire Gina Rinehart urges action on 'true causes' of bushfires, hits back at comedian

Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart has urged people not to blame the bushfires solely on climate change, and highlighted what she sees as the ‘true causes’ behind the ongoing crisis.

The billionaire responded after she was called out by comedian Celeste Barber on social media over an apparent lack of support for those struggling with the bushfires.

A spokesperson for the mining magnate, who is worth an estimated $14 billion, clapped back at that suggestion by revealing she had donated privately.

They also went on to detail the ‘red tape’ issues Ms Rinehart believes have contributed to the disaster.

“[Ms Rinehart] is most concerned that the true causes of this sad devastation are tackled, rather than missed in the rush to blame climate change,” the spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle.

She called for strict rules surrounding preparation for bushfires to be eased.

“In particular, restrictions on building dams are lifted, the dangerous restrictions on allowing adequate fire breaks and restrictions on land clearing, which regulations have helped to cause life and stock losses, property damage, and damage to livelihoods and much suffering,” the statement said.

Gina Rinehart (right) has responded to Celeste Barber's tweet. Source: Getty
Gina Rinehart (right) has responded to Celeste Barber's tweet. Source: Getty

The statement comes after fellow Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes called Ms Ginehart’s $4.5 million donation to the Institute of Public Affairs, which has been branded a “climate sceptic thinktank”, was “absolutely shameful”.

Barber raises $47million and counting

Comedian Barber, who has raised a staggering $47million for the bushfire crisis through Facebook since Friday, tweeted directly at Ms Rinehart asking where she and her fortune were at a time of need.

“Hey Gina Rinehart where the hell are you and all your money?! If you’re in Hawaii on a family holiday I’m going to flip a f****** table,” Celeste wrote, referencing Scott Morrison’s ill-timed recent holiday abroad.

And while her tweet began to garner significant traction online, a spokesperson for Ms Rinehart quickly clarified that the contributions she had made hadn’t been publicised.

In the statement the spokesperson said Ms Rinehart preferred to donate privately and had done so at an event at her home on Tuesday evening where she contributed to a firefighting fund.

The statement from Ms Rinehart’s spokesperson comes as The Paul Ramsay Foundation donated $30million to bushfire relief for disadvantaged Australians.

Barber's fundraiser for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund, to support bushfire relief efforts in Australia, has become the largest Facebook fundraiser globally, Facebook told Business Insider Australia.

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