Tenterfield Shire Council is urging residents not to rush into a major clean-up of properties affected by the current bushfire crisis, due to concerns about possible contaminants including asbestos.
Whilst immediate recovery has started at Jubullum with damage assessment and making the locality safe for community to return, a council statement said there will be the need for staged assessment of other fire-affected areas with the ongoing fire control works still happening.
“We appreciate the desire of residents to clean up their properties and get their lives back on track, but we can’t emphasise enough the importance of people working with authorities to protect the wellbeing of everyone involved,” Mayor Peter Petty said.
“Shire residents will be kept informed about the clean-up and recovery process, as everyone works together to deal with this devastating event for the community.
Organisations with appropriate expertise in property and asbestos assessment will be deployed as circumstances allow.
Council advised that who are insured to contact their insurer before commencing any cleanup, as photographs or video footage may be required as evidence.
NSW Environment Protection Authority and Local Land Services officials are working with Police, RFS, Tenterfield Shire Council and other organisations to assess and address the effects of the fire.
A Recovery Assistance Point has been established at the Tabulam Hall. Opening hours are 9am to 4pm. Staff from the following organisations will be on hand:
- Disaster Welfare
- Local Land Services
- Rural Assistance Mental Health Team
- Red Cross
Those unable to visit the Assistance Point can call the Disaster Welfare Line on 1800 018 444 (again available 9am to 4pm daily).
The Tenterfield Memorial Hall in Molesworth Street remains set up to receive inquiries in person from displaced members of the community.