The NSW and Australian Governments have announced they will share the costs on a 50:50 basis for the clean-up of residential and commercial properties destroyed by the recent bushfires in NSW.

The cost of the state’s clean-up is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, though a definitive number cannot be settled until the fires have ceased and sites are assessed.

As part of recovery efforts, the NSW Government has also selected Laing O’Rourke Australia as the lead contractor to undertake the clean-up.

The funding agreement will give people more certainty as the recovery process continues.

Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the clean-up was a mammoth task but that he was confident the partnership with Laing O’Rourke will see properties cleared and the rebuild begin as soon as possible.

“With 2399 homes destroyed and more than 10,000 buildings damaged or destroyed all up, we have a long journey ahead of us,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Despite the enormity of the job, Laing O’Rourke has indicated the majority of properties will be substantially cleared by mid-year, with a focus on residential properties.

“The contractor will also be working hand in hand with Public Works Advisory to engage local suppliers and subcontractors, to keep local economies ticking over.

“Our emergency services, volunteers and our farmers have been outstanding in emergency situations these past months, and we need to be as vigilant in recovery as they have been in the face of disaster.”

The NSW Government will provide regular updates to the Commonwealth on the progress of the clean-up.