Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro visited a remote property near Moparrabah, about 36km west of Kempsey, where a helicopter was needed to remove the debris.
“To date, we have cleared more than 3500 properties across NSW, which has been a mammoth effort and one we continue to face. It is extraordinary to see the enormous lengths these clean-up crews are going to in order to get the job done,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Just in the last few weeks an additional 149 property owners have registered for clean-up and so our focus is getting those properties, and remaining difficult-to-reach properties, cleared as soon as possible.
“I have said from day one that the thing that keeps me up at night are the people who may have fallen through the cracks – we are continuing to seek out any property owners who have not yet come forward for support.
“I would like to thank our contract partners Laing O’Rourke and all the local subcontractors involved for they work they have done in getting us to this stage and preparing to hand back the reigns to PWA who will take the lead on clean-up going forward.”
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the NSW Government appointed Laing O’Rourke in January 2020 to clean up thousands of destroyed homes and damaged properties, a tally that grew almost daily as fires burned right down the state.
“I can’t imagine the trauma people have gone through and we understand that people seek recovery on their own timeline so it is no surprise that some people are only starting to get in contact with us now,” Ms Pavey said.
“This is the reason we launched the Operation Outreach program in partnership with local councils and the Red Cross to actively seek out bushfire-impacted families and individuals to make sure they get access to all the support available to them.
“We will continue to provide assistance for as long as it takes to give everyone who has had their home damaged or destroyed by fire the chance to rebuild their lives.”
Cathal O’Rourke, Managing Director Laing O’Rourke, said it has been a great privilege to be able to make a difference to these communities who have been doing it tough.
“First and foremost, I want to say a huge thank you to all of the property owners and community members who have welcomed us into their towns and their homes so warmly at such a difficult time. Everyone working on the project is immensely proud to have been able to play a small part in helping you to take your first steps towards rebuilding.
“I would also like to thank the NSW Government for being willing to embrace a new, innovative approach to this kind of project. We were confident that, by trialling some new ideas, we could deliver great results on the ground and I’m proud that this has been the case.
Support for clean-up will continue via Public Works Authority as Laing O’Rourke reach the completion of their contract with the NSW Government. People seeking assistance, including clean-up, are urged to contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.