Victorian resellers chip in to help bushfire victims

Several integrators urge their peers to give generously

Victorian resellers are doing their bit to help victims of the fatal bushfires that have taken lives and destroyed homes across the state.

Managing director of Melbourne-based reseller Southern Cross Computer Systems, Mark Kalmus, said the business had collectively donated money towards assisting Victorian bushfires victims. Several staff have also given blood, or donated clothing.

“We have some staff with holiday houses who have made these available for homeless people affected by the fires,” Kalmus said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can.”

Vice-president of the Victorian Small Business IT Professional Association (SBITPA) and managing director of Evolve IT, Nick Moran, said the best thing everybody could do in the short-term was donate cash. The organisation, which has 30-40 members across the state’s IT community, has collectively chipped in $1000 towards assisting bushfire victims, but many individual organisations have also donated cash, clothing and blood.

“Every little bit counts. Businesses of all shapes and sizes need to financially do what they can,” Moran said. “We had a client [conference centre] in Marysville, which was completely wiped out, so many of my staff were extremely familiar with the location and surrounds. It has certainly had a massive impact on everyone personally."

Moran said there was a massive groundswell of support in Melbourne.

“There are roads being blocked down here because people have donated so many physical goods. I could send around an email here and there’d be a bunch of staff who would donate days of labour if there was stuff to do,” he said. “At the moment, apart from the physical dollars, everybody is holding back and waiting to find out what people need. It’s the cash that’s most use to them now.”

SBITPA member and Melbourne-based SMB integrator, ZyNet, has also set up an appeal and is urging people to give generously.

“I am sure that the recent fires have touched us all in some way – some more than others,” ZyNet managing director, Paul Turner, said in an email to colleagues and peers. “ I have a friend who lost everything to the fire so I am a little closer to it than I expected to be. I drove down the Hume Highway yesterday on the way back from a weekend up north and cannot begin to explain the devastation it has caused. For 15-20km – probably more – I drove in the dark and noted complete flattening with embers still smouldering in some trees. Sign posts were completely melted, smoke filled the air – it was awful.”

CEO of education reseller Computelec, David La Bozzetta, said 70 per cent of his organisation had either donated blood, or was in the process of doing so. He added many of his colleagues had friends affected by the disaster in Kinglake.

“Our organisation has made a substantial cash donation to the victims – we’re keen to support in anyway we can,” La Bozzetta said.

As of this morning, Australians had donated $15.1 million to assist those affected by the Victorian Bush Fires, the Red Cross said. Businesses wanting to make a financial donation, or engage staff in the Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009, should email or phone Daniel Murphy on (02) 9290 8943, Luke Gracie on (03) 9341 7520 or Nikki Williams on (03) 9341 7518.

Individuals can donate cash via the Red Cross website:, or on 1800 811 700. The Red Cross has over 400 staff now working in conjunction with the Victorian emergency services to assist the bushfire victims.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to provide assistance on the ground should visit the Volunteering Australia :