Local News

BUSHFIRE RECOVERY CLEAN-UP UNDERWAY: Residents urged to answer their phones

Preliminary bushfire recovery clean-up works have started in Clarence Valley, with 217 locals registered via Service NSW. The clean-up service will be provided by Laing O’Rourke Australia, but the waste contractor is having trouble reaching some people by phone.

“There were 169 homes destroyed by bushfire in Clarence Valley and 57 damaged. That means there are still a few people eligible for the NSW Government and Australian Government funded clean-up program who have not yet registered. I urge you to register as soon as possible by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88,” Clarence Valley Council General Manager Ashley Lindsay said.

“If you are registered, Laing O’Rourke Australia will make contact with you by phone. However, we have been made aware that Laing O’Rourke is having trouble reaching property owners because some people aren’t answering their phones.

“I know we’re all wary about taking calls from unknown numbers, but be mindful that in the coming weeks Laing O’Rourke staff – some of whom are now working from home and may be calling off unknown mobile or landlines numbers –  will be calling those property owners who are already registered to organise for clean-up works to begin.

“The clean-up is an essential step towards moving on for individuals and communities devastated by the bushfires. Damaged properties serve as a daily reminder of the trauma of the events and their removal will allow the community to both physically and emotionally begin rebuilding what was lost.

“While COVID-19 introduces a new challenge to bushfire recovery, Laing O’Rourke and the NSW Government are determined to maintain momentum and complete the clean-up project quickly.

“Laing O’Rourke has initiated a range of measures to allow them to complete an assessment of your property while maintaining social distance. Once this is completed they can engage contractors to start clearing debris.”

It is important to note that Laing O’Rourke will always arrange household visits in advance and will not turn up unannounced or demand payment.

The NSW Government and the Commonwealth are covering the full cost of cleaning up eligible NSW properties that have been destroyed by bushfires since 1 July 2019. Both insured and uninsured properties used for residential, small business or primary production purposes are eligible for the clean-up program.

To register, you need to call 13 77 88 or visit the Service NSW website.