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The Australian Volunteers Support Trust (AVST) has been established to assist the families of any recognised emergency services volunteer in Australia who tragically loses their life through their volunteer work when responding to a disaster after 1 July 2019.

Equity Trustees will manage the AVST pro bono in perpetuity, providing the required duties of a Trustee. This will include conducting an annual audit of the trusts and reporting this publicly as required.

If your family has been impacted or you would like to discuss eligibility please contact us on (03) 8623 5000 to speak with a caring member of our Philanthropy team.

Advisory Panel

The AVST Advisory Panel will be responsible for eligibility criteria and guidelines, and decisions on applications. Current members of the Panel are listed below, with places reserved for representatives from Australian emergency service volunteering.

To make a donation

Businesses, individuals and DGR item 2 funds (that is a Public Ancillary Fund) can make a tax deductible financial contribution to the trusts below.

For donations over $10,000, please contact us at


  • Australian Volunteers Support Trust

    What is an emergency services volunteer? 

    A volunteer who is volunteering with a recognised emergency services organisation in response to a disaster (see definition below).

    For example, if a volunteer firefighter loses their life in the course of their volunteer work responding to a disaster, their family is eligible to apply for support from the AVST. The primary focus of the trust will be on supporting children to adulthood with a particular focus on education. Eligibility criteria is in development and will apply. 

    What is a Disaster or Emergency?

    A disaster is defined as natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events.  Examples are bushfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, explosions, war, riots, etc.

    We are using the generally used ‘force majeure’ legal definition of a disaster as our guide.

  • Advisory Panel

    Who is on the AVST Advisory Panel?

    Equity Trustees’ Chair, Carol Schwartz AO (chair), Jennifer Westcott AO (Chief Executive of the BCA), David Gonski AC, Dame Quentin Bryce AD CV and Lisa Paul AO. Places are reserved for representatives from Australian emergency service volunteering. 

    Details about Advisory Panel members will be updated on these pages.
    How will the Advisory Panel to the AVST work?

    The panel members are appointed for three-year terms, with appointments to the panel made by the trustee (Equity Trustees), taking into consideration advice of the Advisory Panel.

    The Advisory panel will make recommendations to the Trustee around eligibility and the distribution of the Trust funds as required.

  • Eligibility

    Is this Trust only for the volunteering victims of the fire season – or will other disasters or emergencies be covered?

    It is structured so that the trusts can exist into perpetuity and hoped that enough funds will be raised to support the families of volunteers who have been killed in the course of their duty responding to any disaster (bushfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, explosions, war, riots etc) into perpetuity. As with all trusts, the level of support will be dependent on the trust raising sufficient capital to meet the demand of impacted families.

  • Application Process

    What is the application process going to be? What will it involve?

    The application process is under development and details will be published online here after it is agreed by the trustee following consultation with the Advisory Panel.