Bushfire clean-up teams on-the-ground in the Bega Valley

Bushfire clean-up contractor Laing O’Rourke has started clearance work in almost 20 localities across the Bega Valley, including Brogo, Bemboka, Cobargo, Coolagolite, Eden, Kiah, Mt Darragh, Wandella and Yowrie.

The company has set up base in Bega and initially stationed two Clean-up Caravans in Cobargo, for local contractors and Laing O’Rourke staff members to meet, hold safety briefings, share progress updates and discuss the upcoming work program.

Laing O’Rourke spokesperson, Kalina Koloff said the company has teams on the ground contacting property owners in the Bega Valley.

“More than 140 property clearances are complete or underway and we have secured an additional 300 Deeds of Release across the Bega Valley, which will allow us to get the clean-up job done quickly and safely,” she said.

The clean-up process includes:

  • removal of known hazardous materials, including asbestos

  • removal of materials destroyed by bushfire and some hazardous trees

  • with consent of building owners, the removal of concrete slab foundations.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s Project Lead Bushfire Recovery, Chris Horsburgh said he and his team are working closely with Laing O’Rourke on all aspects of the clean-up and are particularly mindful of the personal impact this has on property owners and the clean-up teams.

“These residents are re-living the trauma of their loss; watching their homes, their treasures and a huge chunk of their life story going out the gate on the back of a truck,” Mr Horsburgh said.

“And the clean-up teams are very aware they are removing a lot of memories within these ruins.

“But for most, the clean-up is the first step to recovery and rebuilding, which they desperately need after so many months of upheaval.”

Ms Koloff said Laing O’Rourke has, to date, around 1,000 registered properties across the Bega Valley, but know there are more affected property owners out there who are yet to register.

“We encourage those who have registered to please check in with your neighbours and friends to see if they have registered and if they haven’t, encourage them to do so as soon as possible,” she said.

“We are using local contractors so we can continue to support local businesses and households that have been impacted by the fires and help rebuild the economy.”

Laing O’Rourke is working closely with local subcontractors across the Bega Valley Shire, which include All Dirt & Demo (South Pambula), LW & CK Cocks Ltd (Eden), Jason Sirl Excavations (Bega), South East Civil & Crane (South Pambula) and Merimbula Sand & Gravel.

Ms Koloff said many of these local subcontractors were on the front line fighting the bushfires in their communities over summer and Laing O’Rourke is proud to be able to provide opportunities for them to be involved in the clean-up.

“It’s great to be able to work with Laing O’Rourke to provide as many opportunities for local businesses to be involved in the clean-up as possible,” Mr Horsburgh said.

Property owners can register by calling 13 77 88 or visiting the Service NSW website.

If you are a suitably qualified local contractor/supplier interested in working on the bushfire clean-up, register your details via the ICN Gateway website.

Above: Local contractor clearing a property. Photo: BVSC