Batlow Cleanup Meeting held amidst virus fears

A community meeting about the bushfire cleanup was held in Batlow Wednesday evening, with the Snowy Valleys Council capping attendance at 100, amidst social distancing recommendations and fears of coronavirus.

“They were handing out tickets because they wanted to limit it to 100 people and we think there was 90 there,” said Southern NSW Recovery Coordinator Dick Adams.

Mr Adams attended the meeting, alongside representatives from Laing O’Rourke, the government-selected cleanup coordinator, and the Snowy Valleys Council.

The theme of the evening was the importance of registering for the cleanup, with promises that Lang O’Rourke will be in Batlow, assessing properties “within a couple of weeks.”

“They’ll be approaching property owners to get permission to go onto their properties and to clear the properties,” said Mr Adams, adding that the company is still on track to finish their statewide cleanup work by the end of June 2020.

“That’s what was put in the contract by the NSW government,” said Mr Adams. “Of course, that was before coronavirus… if they have to close down all the work sites, because that’s ordered by the state or federal government, then that’s what they’ll have to do, but that’s not happening at this time.”

Mr Adams said the meeting was cordial, with people “quite happy they were getting their questions answered by Laing O’Rourke.”

To prevent overcrowding, SVC had promised to film the meeting and share it via their website. That video is expected within the coming days.

To register for the cleanup affected residents to urged register with ServiceNSW at 13 77 88 to opt-into the clean up register or visit www.service.nsw.gov.au.

The next step if for Laing O’Rourke to contact registered property owners to discuss their damage and eligibility, then meet with individual owners at their site.

Clean up will then begin after the owner approves a proposed scope of work.

At the end of the cleanup, the property owner will sign off, confirming the completion of the agreed scope of work.

Laing O’Rourke also issued a call for contractors to register to help with the cleanup by visiting https://gateway.icn.org.au/.