Since the devastating Curraweela Bushfire event in March 2023, Upper Lachlan Shire Council has persistently engaged with key stakeholders, including Transport for NSW and the NSW Reconstruction Authority, in a concerted effort to mitigate risks posed by damaged trees in the aftermath of the disaster.

Transport for NSW allocated grant funds of $640,000 under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. This funding was designated explicitly for the removal of damaged trees within the public road reserve, with restrictions preventing its use for addressing hazards on private properties.

CEO Alex Waldron said “Council will continue to lobby for future funding and recognise the sense of urgency to address potential hazards to public road users. Nevertheless, the challenge extends beyond the confines of the public road reserve, as numerous damaged trees present risks within private properties.”

The NSW Reconstruction Authority has recently announced an allocation of $300,000 under the Make Safe program for tree removal within private properties. Council estimates the total cost of removing trees within private properties to be around $860,000, leaving a significant funding shortfall.

The impending shortfall places a considerable and unrealistic financial burden on Council, particularly in ensuring timely responses to tree-related threats to public safety. Addressing such concerns individually would not only strain resources but also prove substantially more costly without the efficiencies gained from simultaneous, comprehensive action.

Upper Lachlan Shire Council is actively engaged in the tender process to secure a contractor for the identified works funded by both the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and the NSW Reconstruction Authority grant.

Upper Lachlan Shire Council remains committed to working with the community and state government departments to address the challenges posed by the aftermath of the Curraweela Bushfire.