Amid natural disasters and a global pandemic, the first half of 2020 has certainly presented some challenges. Despite these, we never lost sight of supporting our communities.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2020, Australia's Official Lotteries contributed more than $1.4 billion via state lottery taxes and donations to help community initiatives, such as hospitals, health research, disaster relief, and education.

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In January 2020, we donated $1.8 million from our Bushfire Benefit Draw to support relief services for people and communities impacted by the devastating fires, rural fire services, organisations assisting with the recovery process, and the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife.

At the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, a dedicated team of researchers at the University of Queensland’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences were tasked with developing a safe and effective vaccine for the disease. In April, we were proud to help accelerate their research with a $1 million unclaimed prize money donation from Golden Casket, part of the Lott. Since the donation, the vaccine has shown promising results and moved into human trials

That same month we also donated $600,000 to support the revolutionary Zero Childhood Cancer program, an unprecedented initiative between major clinical and research groups. The Zero Childhood Cancer Program is a world-leading program offering Australia's first-ever personalised medicine program for children with high-risk or relapsed cancer.

In May, a Queensland-first trial being carried out at Mater Mothers' Hospitals received a $500,000 boost to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on expectant parents and their unborn babies.

June saw the Lott help raise more than $1.6 million for the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, through the annual Gold Telethon run by Channel 9. 

The extension of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation’s mission to help keep children safe through a $300,000 donation was a focus for us in July. The donation from Golden Casket, part of the Lott – Australia's official lotteries, was funded from unclaimed prize money. These funds will be used to grow the Foundation's child safety education programs and events, and to increase the support the Foundation provides to victims of crime and families of missing persons.

We’re well into the second half of 2020, and our commitment to communities continues. We can't wait to show you what's to come as we head towards 2021.