NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Member for Bega Andrew Constance today announced that the NSW Government will step in to facilitate the clean-up of Tathra homes destroyed by the bushfires, in partnership with insurers.
“I am relieved that nobody lost their life, however with such devastating property loss and damage we need to help people rebuild and the community recover,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Today I am announcing that up to $10 million will be spent to remove asbestos contaminated material and help residents clean up their properties.”
This announcement will ensure the cost of cleaning up properties in Tathra and its surrounds will not be deducted from funds available under residents’ insurance polices for rebuilding.
NSW Public Works will coordinate the clean-up operation, in partnership with insurers and Bega Valley Council, and will engage expert contractors regularly utilised in the aftermath of natural disasters.
This will help ensure that the clean-up operation takes place in an efficient and coordinated manner, and that clean-up and disposal standards are upheld.
“First, once safe, we need to give time to those who have lost their homes the option to return and see if there is any personal items that can be salvaged,” Mr Constance said.
“Second, we know the quicker the clean-up is completed, the faster the community can heal as a result of this natural disaster, and people can get on with rebuilding.”
The clean-up package for homes destroyed by the bushfires in Tathra and its surrounds will include:
• the removal of asbestos contaminated material released as a result of the bushfire;
• removal of all dangerous debris, including destroyed homes and trees; and
• the removal of concrete slabs.
The Government is also providing financial assistance for the clean-up of properties which are uninsured.
If residents whose homes have been damaged or destroyed have not already been contacted by their insurer, they should contact the Disaster Welfare 1800 line to facilitate the clean-up of their properties.
The appointment of Mr Euan Ferguson as Recovery Coordinator supports the range of assistance measures already available in nominated areas under the Natural Disaster Assistance Schemes, including grants for people on low incomes with no insurance, whose homes and essential household items have been destroyed by the bush fires.
The NSW Government has also agreed to fund the expansion of Bega Council’s tip to ensure hazardous waste from the fire can be disposed of safely.
Inquiries about the disaster relief grants and the eligibility criteria may be made by visiting the Tathra recovery centre or emergency.nsw.gov.au.