Flood-affected communities are being reminded to exercise caution when returning to their homes and businesses, as waste collection services and recovery efforts ramp up across the State.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, Steph Cooke said a multi-Agency team including hundreds of personnel, helicopters, and equipment was being mobilised to help the clean-up efforts across northern NSW.
Ms Cooke said the task force was comprised of personnel from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), Fire & Rescue NSW and the Australian Defence Force.
“I know people who have evacuated their homes want to return as soon as possible to clean up, but please do not enter a damaged building unless it has been deemed safe to do so by authorities,” Ms Cooke said.
“The clean-up process is hard and heartbreaking as belongings are thrown out,” she said.
“I want to assure everyone impacted by these floods that the additional waste removal services will be in place for as long as it takes to clean up.”
Ms Cooke said additional waste services would see extra red bins rolled out in Northern River council areas and skip bins arrive in Lismore.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said Government and councils were working together to arrange bulk waste clean-up services, skip bins and additional curbside collections.
“Residents can take flood-affected household items to their local landfill without having to worry about the cost, with the waste levy waived in the 45 local government areas that have been subject to natural disaster declaration,” Mr Perrottet said.
Ms Cooke advised people returning to their flood-affected homes to contact their insurance company directly and take plenty of photos of any damaged property and contents before removing and disposing of items.
She warned that floodwater may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals, so appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn.
“People should also be alert to snakes, spiders, rats, and other wildlife that may have taken refuge in the structure or furniture.”
The Minister said residents in flood-affected areas could contact Service NSW to log NSW SES clean-up requests and seek essential items.