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About the Trust

The Australian Volunteers Support Trust (the Trust) aims to assist the families of any recognised emergency services volunteer in Australia who tragically loses their life in the line of duty while responding to a natural disaster.

The focus of the Trust is to support the children of affected families, to ensure that their current and future educational needs are addressed, and the family is supported throughout the child’s educational journey.

Eligibility for affected families

- The volunteer died during the course of their volunteer service when responding to a disaster after 1 July 2019.
- The volunteer is recognised as the guardian or parent of a dependent minor or minors.
- The family requires financial support for the education needs of the volunteer’s children.

If your family has been impacted or you are a volunteer service organisation and know of a member who may be eligible, please contact us on (03) 8623 5000 or email to speak with a caring member of our Philanthropy team.

Make a donation to the Trust

The Australian Volunteers Support Trust continues to accept donations from individuals, businesses, and philanthropic vehicles (such as public and private ancillary funds).

Donations into the Trust will ensure that it is well-placed to respond to the unmet needs of the families of volunteers who lose their lives while responding to disasters in Australia, now and into the future.

All donations made to the Australian Volunteers Support Trust over $2 are tax-deductible.

If you would like to speak to someone about how your support can help families affected by the loss of a loved one, please contact a member of our Philanthropy Team on 1300 133 475 or email us at

* Equity Trustees Wealth Services Limited is appointed Trustee of the Australian Volunteers Support Trust [ABN: 33 006 132 332 | AFSL: 234528]

Equity Trustees administers the Trust on a pro-bono basis, and will continue to do so in perpetuity, performing all requisite responsibilities of a Trustee.

  • Frequently asked questions


    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 Trust.

    The primary focus of the trust is to support children to adulthood with a particular focus on education.

    Eligibility criteria applies.


    A disaster is defined as a natural and unavoidable catastrophe that interrupts 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.

    The Trust is structured so that it can exist into perpetuity and hoped that enough funds will continue to 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).

    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


    There are two ways that an application can be submitted for consideration:

    a. A family member, carer or guardian can apply directly via Equity Trustees website, or

    b. The ‘Volunteer Service Organisation’, representing the family can make a referral on their behalf.

    A representative from Equity Trustees will contact the family representative by phone to complete an ‘Expression of Interest’ form*.

    [An 'Expression of Interest' form provides Equity Trustees with the opportunity to find out more about the family's circumstances and confirm that there is an alignment with the purpose of the Trust].


    The ‘Expression of Interest’ form will be carefully reviewed and considered by Equity Trustees. Due diligence will be completed and formal recommendations from the volunteer service organisation will be sought, if not already provided.


    Once Equity Trustees has completed the required due diligence, the family representative will be notified and asked to complete a full registration via an online portal.

    Equity Trustees will be available to provide any support needed during this process.


    Once the full registration has been reviewed by Equity Trustees, the family representative will receive a formal notification to advise if the application has been deemed as eligible.


    All the relevant details will be sent to the family and/or family representative. Details will include:
    - A letter of engagement from Equity Trustees
    - ‘Recipient Details Form’ for the family representative to complete and return to Equity Trustees.

    Equity Trustees will then arrange the initial payment to be made via EFT.

    Equity Trustees will work with the family to arrange for a ‘Funding Request and Declaration’ form to be completed and returned each year.

    Once received, the annual payment will be made.
    [Note: timing for the return of the form is December to January - before the start of the ‘school year’.

    Equity Trustees will be there to provide ongoing support and assistance as required.
  • Advisory Panel

    An independent Advisory Panel has been appointed to make recommendations to the Trustee around eligibility and the distribution of the Trust funds as required.

    Panel members are appointed for three-year terms, with appointments to the panel made by the Trustee. Places are reserved for representatives from Australian emergency service volunteering organisations.

    Who is on the AVST Advisory Panel?