The Federal and NSW Government’s have announced they will share the costs of the bushfire clean up on a 50:50 basis.
Residential and commercial properties destroyed by the recent bushfires in NSW will be the focus of the clean up.
This partnership follows the successful approach adopted by the Australian and Victorian Governments following the Black Saturday bushfires.
Both governments have stated the clean up is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, though a definitive number cannot be settled until the fires have stopped and all sites are assessed.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding agreement was an important step to get the clean-up and rebuilding process moving and to help people get back on their feet.
“We know many people are still battling these blazes but where the fire-front has passed we’re deploying $2 billion through our National Bushfire Recovery Agency to help people rebuild their homes and communities,” Mr. Morrison said.
Major contractor Laing O’Rourke Australia has been chosen by the NSW Government as the lead contractor to undertake the clean up.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said he is confident the partnership with Laing O’Rourke will see properties cleared and the rebuild begin as soon as possible.
“With 2,399 homes destroyed and more than 10,000 buildings damaged or destroyed all up, we have a long journey ahead of us,” Mr. Barilaro said.
“Despite the enormity of the job, Laing O’Rourke has indicated the majority of properties will be substantially cleared by mid-year, with a focus on residential properties.”
Mr. Barilaro said the contractor will also be working hand in hand with Public Works Advisory to engage local suppliers and subcontractors, to keep local economies ticking over.
“Our emergency services, volunteers and our farmers have been outstanding in emergency situations these past months, and we need to be as vigilant in recovery as they have been in the face of disaster,” he said.
Laing O’Rourke Australia Managing Director Cathal O’Rourke said the business was honoured to have been chosen for this task and is committed to delivering this important work as promptly as possible and with the highest degree of sensitivity and safety for the many communities affected across NSW.
“We will work with local subcontractors and regional small businesses across NSW to ensure they are engaged in the delivery of the clean-up process, providing much needed stimulus to local economies,” Mr. O’Rourke said.
“While planning is already underway, we are now asking individuals to register their bushfire-damaged properties through Service NSW or by calling 13 77 88.”
“Over the coming weeks we will have teams located in each of the affected communities to provide local property owners with that important face-to-face contact as we begin to plan the task ahead,” he said.