The Morrison Government must make debris clean-up in bushfire affected communities a priority by supporting local contractors and boosting the local workforce, so towns can begin to rebuild.
This week on the 7.30 Report (Tuesday, 14 April), it was revealed that, months after the devastating 2019-20 bushfire season, only ten per cent of the debris has been cleared.
Over three thousand homes were lost during the bushfires. At this rate, it will take two and a half years for all debris to be cleared, and for bushfire affected communities to begin rebuilding.
For these communities, the economic impact of the bushfire season has been compounded by coronavirus. Many see coronavirus as part of a “triple blow”, after months of bushfires and years of crippling drought.
While thousands of workers have been stood down in bushfire affected regions because of coronavirus, debris clearing and fencing has been described as a “COVID safe” activity, able to implement social distancing measures and keep workers safe.
With a young workforce available and a lot of work to be done, it makes sense for the Government to speed up bushfire recovery work as a stimulus for regions which have suffered major hits to their local economies lately.
The Government must ensure that state primary contractors, and the local contractors they employ, are able to pick up the pace for debris clean-up by building a workforce from workers impacted by coronavirus restrictions.
Debris continues to serve as a reminder of the loss these towns have suffered, and it is important for it to be cleared away as quickly as possible.
The Morrison Government must act to support bushfire affected towns and make sure they’re not forgotten.
THURSDAY, 16 APRIL 2020
Authorised by Paul Erickson Australian Labor Party Canberr