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14 November 2013 - Blue Mountains bush fires: Funding provided for clean-up

Minister for Justice

Blue Mountains bush fires: Funding provided for clean-up

14 November 2013

Joint Media Release

Minister for Justice
The Hon. Michael Keenan

Premier of NSW
The Hon. Barry O'Farrell

The NSW and Australian Governments have today announced further assistance for communities affected by the Blue Mountains bush fires - with funding provided to clean-up and remove all debris from bush fire affected sites at Springwood and Winmalee.

“The scale of the bush fire damage in the Springwood and Winmalee areas is immense, with more than 200 homes destroyed and another 120 properties damaged and the NSW Government is committed to supporting the area,” NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said.

“To assist, the NSW Government will work with insurers and fund the clean-up and removal of all bush fire debris, including the disposal of asbestos contaminated material from destroyed homes.

“The NSW Government is determined to help the Blue Mountains community which is undertaking the daunting and heartbreaking task of rebuilding after these fires.

“This additional support from the NSW Government will reduce the financial burden on affected residents and ensure the post-bush fire clean-up occurs quickly and efficiently.

“This practical assistance means the cost of cleaning-up bush fire debris from a site will not be deducted from a resident’s insurance payout.

“This funding follows representations from NSW Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage and Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus MP who have strongly advocated on behalf of their local community following the devastating fires.”

Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said this assistance is being provided under the jointly funded Commonwealth-NSW Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

“This much needed assistance will provide clean-up support to people whose homes have been destroyed by the bushfires.”

“I would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of Louise Markus, who has been working hard to support her community during these devastating fires,” Mr Keenan said.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird said the funding will greatly assist residents as they rebuild.

“This additional financial support comes after an initial $1.4 million commitment, which funded urgent work to ‘make safe’ sites containing asbestos in the bush fire zone,” Mr Baird said.

“We are grateful the insurance industry has agreed to work productively with us to achieve our common goal of the quick and efficient clean-up of bush fire-ravaged sites.”

NSW Minister for Emergency Services Michael Gallacher said the clean-up operation is progressing well.

“We appointed former Rural Fire Service Commissioner Phil Koperberg to oversee the Blue Mountains recovery effort,” Mr Gallacher said.

“Under his leadership the clean-up and recovery process is being conducted in a coordinated and methodical fashion.”

Mrs Sage said the NSW Government has been quick to support the community as it recovers and rebuilds after the devastating fires.

“This additional financial support will greatly assist those members of the Blue Mountains community who lost everything during these fires and who are now rebuilding,” Mrs Sage said.

“To help the NSW Government has also announced residents won’t be charged for the water they used to defend their homes during the bush fires, waived the fees to replace documents such as birth certificates and driver licences, waived the waste levy for people taking bush fire waste to the tip and announced funding for a campaign to encourage tourists to visit the Blue Mountains.

“I thank the Premier and the Ministers for their swift response and willingness to help the Blue Mountains during this crisis.”

This assistance is in addition to other measures made available under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, jointly funded by the NSW and Australian Governments.