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The NSW Government and the Commonwealth are covering the full cost of cleaning up eligible NSW properties that have been destroyed by bushfires since 1 July 2019.

Both insured and uninsured properties used for residential, small business or primary production purposes are eligible for the clean-up program.

Trained and licensed contractors will determine the safety requirements and the eligibility of properties.

The clean-up may include:

  • removal of known hazardous materials, including asbestos
  • removal of materials destroyed by bushfire, and hazardous trees near the destroyed or damaged primary residence or business premises
  • removal of damaged driveways that could impact on the safety of the clean-up
  • with the consent of the building owners, removal of concrete slab foundations.

The program focuses on safety hazards and issues that could impede people rebuilding their homes. For example:

  • the clean-up costs of outbuildings that are uninhabitable or unusable that are located within the vicinity of a primary residence or business operation are covered
  • the clean-up costs of septic tanks are not covered unless they present a safety issue.

With safety being the number one priority, testing will be initially carried out on all properties to ensure communities are not exposed to contamination, and workers are not exposed to any hazardous materials.

You need to opt in to the clean-up program and register your property. You can do this online or call Service NSW on 13 77 88.

Most residential properties were cleared by 30 June 2020. It has taken longer for isolated properties in remote areas and regions to be cleaned up.

The following factors are considered when programming works to clear a property:

  • safe access to affected areas, including no fire events
  • understanding of known hazardous materials on properties
  • availability of demolition contractors to conduct the works
  • landfill for disposal of debris.

The cost of clearing properties will not be deducted from the funds available under insurance policies. Where insurance companies have already commenced clean-up works for eligible properties, Government will cover the reasonable cost of work already underway or completed.

Owners of business/commercial premises

Clean-up costs for all large and corporate businesses will be met by the owners or their insurers. Insurers can choose to opt in to the clean-up program and reimburse Government for services.