Slow clean-up a setback for bushfire recovery

Communities in north east Victoria and East Gippsland are questioning slow progress on work to clean up homes destroyed in the summer’s catastrophic bushfires.

As of Monday, only 41 of 692 properties decimated in the bushfires have been cleaned up by government-appointed contractor, Grocon.

Many families are now fearful their homes will not be cleaned up within the prescribed 12 month period, resulting in their insurance being void.

Today in Parliament, Daniel Andrews refused to commit to making sure the recovery efforts were done within 12 months, only saying it would be done “as quickly as possible”.

There are also reports that local content requirements are not being met, despite the Andrews Government promising in January that Grocon would prioritise local contractors to destroy, remove and dispose of all buildings destroyed or damaged beyond repair by bushfire”.

Drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 pandemic have left jobs and small businesses fighting to survive.

Ensuring this work went to local contractors was a chance to restore confidence, but the Andrews Government’s dropped the ball.

Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Bushfire Recovery Peter Walsh

Our bushfire-affected communities are hurting.

Many were already bearing the pressure of years of drought – before the summer's bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic added to the emotional, financial and social toll.

The Andrews Government promised this critical clean-up work would be fast-tracked, but more than three months later hundreds of families who lost their home in the bushfires are yet to see any progress.

People in East Gippsland and north east Victoria just want to get on with rebuilding their lives. But the longer the Andrews Government delays this work, the longer their lives will remain on hold.

The Andrews Government must not abandon communities in north east Victoria and East Gippsland.

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