NSW Bushfire Clean-up Program
The NSW Bushfire Clean-Up Program was delivered in response to the needs of people across NSW who lost homes and businesses to the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires.
Public Works Advisory (PWA) engaged managing contractor Laing O’Rourke (LOR) to clear debris from fire-damaged properties across NSW and make communities safe as quickly as possible.
The scale and complexity of the clean-up task presented unprecedented and unpredictable challenges, including large volumes of waste, complex logistics and managing thousands of requests for help.
Fires continued to burn across the State as properties were assessed and clean-ups commenced, which meant the scale of the task continued to evolve.
This was to be largest natural disaster clean-up initiative in Australian history.
Through collaboration and innovation, PWA and LOR overcame these challenges and worked with local contractors to provide people with cleared, safe home sites.
The program exceeded targets, cleaned up over 3,600 properties across 45 local government areas and provided local jobs in impacted communities, assisting with economic recovery. The program broke records for spend with Aboriginal businesses of more than $34 million.
The volume of waste to be cleared required the use of private and public landfill operations throughout NSW and Queensland, with waste from isolated locations having to be transported significant distances. In total, waste trucks travelled over 6 million kilometres by road, with an average 350 truck movements per day and more than 30 waste sites handled almost 340,000 tonnes of waste.
The logistics of providing staff and contractors across vast areas of the State resulted in the engagement of 100 local or regional businesses providing up to 1,500 workers daily.
More than 66,000 hours were invested in upskilling and training across 23 training programs, with opportunities provided for eight new apprentices and 15 trainees.
Personal contact was made with each property owner and call centres were established to manage questions and enquiries for the Bushfire Clean-up Program, run by Service NSW and LOR. These call centres handled thousands of calls and emails, with the LOR centre alone receiving 29,000 emails.
PWA and LOR’s experience enabled them to respond urgently to changing circumstances to exceed project goals and ensure NSW communities had safe foundations to rebuild and heal.
Additional bushfire help
Other bushfire support measures have been put in place by the NSW and Australian Governments.
For a full list of all available bushfire support, visit Service NSW or call 13 77 88.