The NSW government says it is working as quickly as possible to clean up after the Blue Mountains bushfires, despite growing frustration in the community.
Insurance contractors were scheduled to start clearing the rubble from burnt-out properties on the weekend, but residents and Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill claimed nothing was done and only a small group of workmen showed up.
The government is working with insurance groups to pay for the clean-up of debris following the October fires.
While Greenhill has slammed the process as an “absolute debacle,” NSW Finance Minister Andrew Constance has called it “methodical.”
In a statement on Monday, he said the process would take months.
“But I want to assure residents that the NSW government, in partnership with insurers, is working to ensure this occurs as quickly as possible,” he said.
Responding to concerns that concrete slabs were excluded from the insurance contractor’s clean-up instructions, Constance said the government would fund slab removal unless owners – in consultation with their insurer and builder – had decided to keep what they had.
He also said it was standard practice for homeowners to sign waivers clearing insurers and government from liability. Greenhill had accused the government of penny pinching by not recruiting one single contractor to carry out the clean-up task.
Constance said the disaster recovery expert contractors were best placed to carry out the clean-up of bushfire debris quickly and safely.