Veteran Canadian songsmith Leonard Cohen and his Australian touring party have thrown their support behind victims of the deadly bushfires currently raging through the Victorian state of Australia.

Cohen and his touring support act Paul Kelly, together with live music firms AEG Live U.K. and Michael Gudinski's Frontier Touring Company, have jointly donated $200,000 Australian ($133,000) for the cause.

While the northern hemisphere has had to cope with deluges of snow over recent weeks, the southern region of Australian has endured an extraordinary heatwave. The most severe has been in the South Australian capital of Adelaide, which was hit with 40-degree heat on six successive days, while the mercury in Melbourne has tipped 40 degrees on numerous occasions.

The heat has now taken on a frightening new guise this past weekend, with bush fires sweeping areas of Victoria, killing at least 131 people and incinerating
hundreds of homes.

Gudinski, managing director of promoter Frontier and chairman of the Mushroom Group, says everyone working on Cohen's current national tour has been deeply affected by the events.

"Leonard has loved his time in Australia on this tour and is shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the fires," comment Gudinski. "Leonard, Paul, their touring parties and everyone at AEG Live U.K. and the Frontier Touring Company wish to extend their heartfelt sympathies to those that have suffered the loss of loved ones or their homes through this terrible tragedy."

Contributions will also be collected at the Leonard Cohen with Paul Kelly concert at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne tomorrow night (Feb. 10).

Cohen has already played two Victorian dates on this tour, including a concert last week at the Rod Laver Arena and at Rochford Wines in the Yarra Valley in mid-January.