Waste collection services across the state are being ramped up, as flood-affected communities are reminded to exercise caution when returning to homes and businesses.
More than 4,200 damage impact assessments of Northern Rivers businesses and homes are now complete and 37 waste collection crews are operating in the region.
More than 1,500 emergency services personnel, from the Australian Defence Force, Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, and Surf Life Saving NSW, are in the region to support the clean-up.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said waste needs to be removed as safely and as quickly as possible from flood-impacted communities so people can start to rebuild their lives.
“This disaster has been of an incredible scale and the clean-up will be long, but we are working tirelessly to make sure all the services needed to complete the clean-up are ready and available,” Mr Toole said.
“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.”
Nationals Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said Northern Rivers councils are rolling out extra red bins and skip bins are arriving in the Lismore CBD.
“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 heart-breaking as belongings are thrown out. 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.”
ADVICE FOR RETURNING HOME
• People should contact their insurance company directly and take plenty of photos of any damaged property and contents before removing and disposing of items.
• Damaged items that are safe to move can be put on the kerbside where waste removal crews will collect it over the coming days.
• Floodwater may be contaminated with sewage and chemicals. 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.
• Each area affected by floodwater within the building needs to be cleaned and dried. This includes fridges, cupboards, wall, and floor cavities.
• Residents in flood-affected areas can contact Service NSW to log NSW SES clean-up requests and seek essential items.
• During the flood recovery, the Service NSW call center will be open for extended hours, from 9am-10pm on weekends and 7am-10pm daily, to ensure residents can seek the support they require.
• Residents can log a resupply or clean up request by:
o completing a short online form: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/floods/nsw-floods-request-clean-and-essential-items or calling 13 77 88.