EPA starts bushfire clean-up works in south-east NSW

NSW EPA

Works have started in two south-east Local Aboriginal Land Councils as part of an additional $95 million funding from the NSW Government to public land managers, for bushfire recovery waste management and recycling.

The Aboriginal Land Clean-Up program is one of five programs being delivered by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to support public land managers across the state recover from the ‘black summer’ bushfires of 2019-20.

Following extensive on-ground assessment, and consultation with Local Aboriginal Land Councils by the EPA and Public Works Advisory, works have been approved to start in the Mogo and Merrimans communities in the south-east of NSW.

Works in Mogo will total $720,000 and include the management and recycling of green waste, particularly hazardous trees, and the removal and replacement of burnt fencing. Works in Merrimans will total $90,000 and include the clean-up and removal of 20,000m2of illegally dumped waste. Following the clean-up, deterrent fencing, gating and surveillance signage will be installed.

EPA Engagement, Education and Programs Executive Director Liesbet Spanjaard said the works were part of the NSW Government’s new $20 million Aboriginal Land Clean-Up program.

“These grants will aid in the next step of the bushfire recovery process, by protecting the environment from illegal dumping, removing waste, and supporting our communities to rebuild stronger than ever,” Ms Spanjaard said.

“Works in the Mogo and Merrimans communities will help manage bushfires waste and assist local recovery through employment and economic opportunities,” Ms Spanjaard added.

South East Quarries & Landscaping (SEQL) and AGH Demolition and Asbestos Removals have been contracted by Public Works Advisory to carry out these clean-up activities. Three members of the local Mogo community are assisting SEQL.

Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Linda Carlson said there were many hazardous trees remaining after the bushfires that were a great concern to the community.

“The identification and removal of hazardous trees is of critical importance for our community. We also welcome the replacement of burnt fencing as this will assist in managing our lands,” Ms Carlson added.

Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Dianne McVeity said her community was very happy to see two local people employed to complete clean-up and environmental rehabilitation works.

“This clean-up work under the NSW Government’s Bushfire Recovery Programs is really important to our community. We have worked closely with the EPA and Public Works Advisory to get the works started, and we’re looking forward to the removal of dumped waste, and the installation of deterrent measures to stop it happening again,” Mrs McVeity added.

The Aboriginal Lands Clean-Up Program is funded under the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. This program is one of five waste management and recycling bushfire recovery programs designed for public land managers across bushfire dumping, green waste, council landfill and burnt fence recycling.

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