The Federal and State Governments have announced they will share the costs evenly for the clean-up of residential and commercial properties destroyed by the recent bushfires in NSW.
This follows the successful approach adopted by the Federal and Victorian Governments following the Black Saturday bushfires.
The cost of the NSW clean-up is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, though a definitive number cannot be settled until the fires have ceased and sites are assessed.
As part of recovery efforts the NSW Government has also selected Laing O’Rourke Australia as the lead contractor to undertake the clean-up.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this was an important step to get the clean-up and rebuilding process moving 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.
Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery, John Barilaro, said the clean-up was a mammoth task but that he was confident the partnership with Laing O’Rourke will see properties cleared and the rebuild begin as soon as possible.
“With 2399 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.
“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.”
NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said he expected all savings insurance companies may accrue as a result of the Government funded clean-up to be passed on to policyholders to help assist them in the rebuilding process.
“I know people are anxious to have their properties cleared as soon as possible which is why the NSW Government has hit the ground running with the clean-up effort,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Impacted owners wanting their property cleared need to call Service NSW on 13 77 88 to register their details and provide consent for access to their land.
“We are working with the new National Bushfire Recovery Agency to ensure a coordinated response to make clean-up as easy as possible for property owners.”
The NSW Government will provide regular updates to the Commonwealth on the progress of the clean-up.