Australia bushfires: Red Cross money 'needed now' - NSW Transport Minister

The Red Cross and other organisations have been accused of withholding money meant to help those affected by the Australian bushfires. 

Wildfires have torn through thousands of homes and killed 29 people nationwide, including several firefighters.

At a press conference on Wednesday, New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance slammed organisations - including the Red Cross and Salvation Army - saying change was needed immediately.

Despite the hardships people face, only NZ$31.12 million of the NZ$98.59m donated to the Australian Red Cross has been allocated to victims of the bushfires, local media report. The rest will be distributed over the next few years.

"The money is needed now, not sitting in a Red Cross bank account earning interest so they can map out their next three years and do their marketing," Constance said, as reported by ABC Australia.

He said people are still traumatised by the devastating blazes.

"We need a very real change, very quickly so that the money can get those who need it most," Constance told the ABC

"People are on their knees and we can't have a drip-feed."

The Red Cross' Poppy Brown told the ABC's News Breakfast it will take an extended period of time for communities to recover, and it wasn't just immediate needs they had to consider.

"What we're using our donated funds for is supporting our teams on the ground [by] helping communities with their immediate needs but also helping communities with their longer-term recovery, which we know will take many years.

"We've allocated [AU]$30 million to support communities. People who have lost their homes can apply for emergency grants, and that money is going out the door."

Meanwhile, a Kiwi vet nurse in Australia has said money from campaigns to help animals in affected bushfire regions is not all going where it should be.

"Every single wildlife carer we've met has not got a dollar," Tauranga woman Abby Pogan said.

"The only money I've seen go into helping wildlife is to go through and cull them all.

"There's some big groups here that have been sent the money to go out and shoot everything that they can," Pogan told The Rock's Jay and Dunc on Wednesday.