COVID-19 | Property numbers and clean up progress | Registration and clean-up process | Information for community and contractors | Feedback and Complaints | Mental health support services | Need more information?


Laing O’Rourke has been appointed by the NSW Government for the important task of coordinating the NSW bushfire clean-up program, and is committed to getting on with the job as quickly and safely as possible.

As at June 30 more than 2,800 bushfire affected properties have been cleared across the State giving communities the chance to start again.

This milestone has been achieved by more than 120 clean-up crews drawn from over 90 local and regional businesses who have been working across 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in more than 250 localities.

Together they have logged tens of thousands of hours of clean-up work and have safely moved more than 250,000 tonnes of waste.

It is important to note that this progress has been made despite various challenges like finding new ways of working to observe social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, delays as a result of rainy and inclement weather, flooding in some areas of NSW impeding access to many bushfire affected areas, or availability of specialist machinery.

However, registrations are still open and the clean-up program will remain operational for as long as new registrations are received. There is no end-date to opt-in.

You can register by contacting Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visiting https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-opt-nsw-bushfire-clean.

Laing O’Rourke will continue to work throughout the month of July to ensure remaining eligible registered properties are safely cleared.

As we move to clean-up the remaining properties as quickly and as safely as possible we are also working hard to identify any more property owners who were bushfire affected, but have not registered.

To achieve this, Laing O’Rourke has been working closely with local Service NSW outlets and local Councils to cross reference their data so we can proactively contact anyone identified as having experienced bushfire damage to ensure they are aware of the registration process.

So far, this process has uncovered more than 100 new registrations, a number we expect to rise as these calls are completed. This is a great result and helps us ensure no one will be left behind. 

We also have specialist teams working to find the most efficient way to clean-up some of the final and most challenging bushfire affected properties.

A number of these are located in extremely remote parts of the state, beyond damaged bridges, or over difficult river crossings. There’s no doubt that clearing these final properties will be a challenge, but we’re committed to getting it done.

If you are still waiting for your clean-up or if you have any questions about the clean-up program please contact the Laing O’Rourke team on 1800 007 539 or email nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au.


Steps to protect the community and our people from COVID-19

The clean-up is an essential step towards moving on for individuals and communities devastated by the bushfires and Laing O’Rourke recognises how important it is that we continue to deliver.

While the virus introduces a new challenge to bushfire recovery, Laing O’Rourke and the NSW Government are determined to maintain momentum and continue providing tangible help to fire-affected communities across NSW.

We have introduced a range of measures to help protect he health and safety of our people and the community.

This is an uncertain and constantly evolving challenge that we are all facing together but Laing O’Rourke is committed to regularly updating and engaging collaboratively with the impacted communities in which we are working.

For further information about our response to COVID-19, please call 1800 007 539 to speak with a member of the team.

Protecting the community

Our teams on the ground who are speaking to property owners and conducting inspections have already implemented a range of precautions to ensure the safety of residents and of our team, including:

  • Asking additional screening questions during the initial phone call to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as are you feeling unwell at the moment? Have you been overseas in the last 14 days? 
  • Practicing social distancing, including avoiding shaking hands and ensuring Laing O’Rourke representatives stay at least 1.5 metres away from property owners when attending a property to conduct an inspection.
  • Undertaking strict personal hygiene measures and regular sanitising of tools, including pens and clipboards.
  • Staying home if they feel unwell.

With community information sessions and town hall meetings no longer viable, Laing O’Rourke is working closely with local councils and community groups to identify alternative ways of communicating to the broader community. These might include online information sessions or webinars, or 1:1 meetings conducted at a safe distance.

In the meantime, we are increasing the number of staff working at the dedicated Laing O’Rourke hotline, so if property owners or members of the community have any questions they can call 1800 007 539 to speak with a member of the team.

Protecting our clean-up teams

Laing O’Rourke’s dedicated project teams on the ground across the state are working closely with our local subcontractors to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while clearance works are undertaken.

These include:

  • Strict personal hygiene measures, including sanitising all equipment before it is used.
  • Additional screening and health checks for local subcontractors before contracts are let.
  • Comprehensive site inductions, including protocols and screening specific to COVID-19.
  • Undertaking meetings over the phone, where possible, or adopting social distancing measures.
  • Ensuring that any staff who feel unwell stay at home and that all staff practice good hygiene by washing their hands thoroughly and regularly.

Property numbers and clean up progress

It is important to note that the NSW Government’s bushfire clean-up program is opt in, and its primary purpose is to make properties safe and clean up destroyed homes and businesses, so that people can get on with their lives.

Post registration, qualified contractors will determine the eligibility and safety requirements 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.

For more information on the eligibility visit Service NSW HERE 

It’s also not too late to register. Anyone can register by calling 13 77 88 or visiting Service NSW HERE 

Every person who has registered should have heard from Laing O’Rourke about their clean-up by now. So, if you think you might be registered but you’re not sure or you haven’t heard from the team, please get in touch to confirm. You can check your registration by calling 1800 007 539 or emailing nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au

Please see below the latest data as at 04 July 2020.

The total number of eligible registrations is subject to change as registrations are still open and eligibility assessment is ongoing. The number of eligible properties includes registered hibernated properties and registered properties that have been cleared through insurance companies or by owners and are awaiting reimbursement.

Local Government AreaTotal number of eligible registered propertiesNumber of properties cleared to date by Laing O’Rourke through the NSW Government’s clean-up programNumber of properties cleared by Public Works Advisory prior to the commencement of the Laing O’Rourke program
Armidale123
Bega Valley714547
Blue Mountains3932
Central Coast125
Cessnock2619
Clarence Valley1701525
Coffs Harbour1818
Eurobodalla7706751
Glen Innes Severn645016
Goulburn Mulwaree97
Greater Hume Shire128
Hawkesbury4538
Kempsey87777
Kiama10
Kyogle43
Lake Macquarie20
Lithgow11094
Mid Coast1117814
Mid-Western2618
Nambucca76584
Port Macquarie-Hastings37151
Queanbeyan-Palerang10686
Richmond Valley474020
Shoalhaven4394091
Shellharbour10
Singleton95
Snowy Monaro7138
Snowy Valleys367272
Tenterfield503615
Tweed44
Upper Lachlan71
Walcha199
Wingecaribee143123
Wollondilly4639

Registration and clean-up process

The clean-up process explained


Further information for the community and contractors

Engaging with the community

Laing O’Rourke is committed to regularly updating and engaging collaboratively with the impacted communities where we are working. However, COVID-19 is obviously having a significant impact on all parts of life at the moment and the health and safety of the community and our people is our highest priority. 

While this introduces a new challenge to bushfire recovery, we’re determined to maintain momentum and keep delivering tangible help on the ground.

Right now, the majority of our engagement with community members is via our regular emails and direct calls or emails our call centre and direct calls or emails with registered property owners. Please make sure you are registered to receive our regular updates.

Opportunities for local businesses

All contracts for the bushfire clean-up project have now been filled.

After a lengthy open registration period, over 500 invitations to tender were sent to businesses across New South Wales.

Over 300 responses were received and more than 90 businesses were appointed to help with this important task.

The vast majority are small (78 per cent) or medium (21 per cent) sized businesses and 99 per cent of them are working in the LGA where they are based or the one next door, helping to keep money in areas impacted by the bushfires.

Online industry briefings

To help local businesses learn more about the clean-up project and how to tender for works, Laing O’Rourke is partnering with Local Governments to hold industry briefing sessions. 

Given the constraints in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Laing O’Rourke will be hosting these sessions as online webinars that you can access from your phone or computer. 

To date, we have held three webinars featuring Shoalhaven City Council, Snowy Valleys Council, Snowy Monaro Regional Council, Bega Valley Shire Council and Eurobodalla Shire Council.

These have been attended by the more than 400 contractors who took the opportunity to ask questions of representatives from Laing O’Rourke and the respective Councils.

Please see below copies of previous webinar videos and presentations.

Waste management

How is the clean-up program managing waste from impacted properties?
  • Laing O’Rourke is committed to getting on with the clean-up of impacted properties as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • Obviously, many of these properties suffered significant damage – both in the initial fires but, for many, also in the subsequent storms and floods.
  • In addition to this, many of the impacted properties – especially on the South Coast – include asbestos that must be very carefully managed to protect the community.
  • These challenges make the clean-up job complex. To make sure all properties are cleared to the same high standard, we must take the time to get the job done right.
How much waste needs to be moved?
  • We expect that between one and two million tonnes of material will need to be cleared across the State as part of the clean-up.
  • This is the largest and most complex waste removal program ever undertaken in the State.
Where will the waste go?
  • Laing O’Rourke has been working closely with local councils, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Public Works Advisory (PWA) to ensure the proper waste disposal that licensed landfill sites.
  • Laing O’Rourke has access to sufficient licensed landfill sites to safely handle the disposal of the large quantities of waste that is expected to be generated.
  • For more information about this, please email nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au
Is waste being recycled, where possible?
  • Laing O’Rourke is undertaking all best endeavours to identify and recycle materials wherever possible, but only when it is appropriate and safe to do so.
  • Potential recycling opportunities include: 
    • Crushing concrete and masonry to be used for temporary road base or for use on local road projects;
    • Mulching green waste; or
    • Reusing scrap metal.
  • However, there are strict rules that do not permit the recycling of waste that is suspected to contain or contains asbestos. Unfortunately, the high proportion of asbestos in many properties limits the opportunities for recycling.
Asbestos Certificates

If you are seeking asbestos sample results for your property, please email nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au.

If the samples were collected during by government teams during the building impact assessments, the results will be made available to you in a report. The report will be emailed to you when it is completed.

Clearance Certificates

After your property has been cleared, you will be issued a clearance certificate. If you have any questions about the process, please email nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au.


Feedback and Complaints

To lodge a complaint about any aspect of the program, you can call 1800 007 539 or email nswbushfirecleanup@laingorourke.com.au.

The Laing O’Rourke team will work with you to try and resolve your complaint within seven calendar days. In some instances, this may take longer, and we will keep you updated on the progress of your complaint. 

We may work with Public Works Advisory or other NSW Government agencies to resolve your complaint.


Mental health support services

Natural disasters are traumatic events and have an impact on much more than just the physical environment. They can have a profound effect on the mental health and wellbeing of affected communities.

We encourage anyone seeking support at this time to engage with the broad range of mental health and wellbeing services that can be located here https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/bushfire-customer-care-service/mental-health


Need more information?

For more information about the NSW bushfire recovery clean-up program visit Service NSW https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-opt-nsw-bushfire-clean

For more information about Laing O’Rourke activities in your community: