“Local tradespeople in the communities that have been impacted because these communities need to rebuild and the more jobs that can be provided locally the better. And the companies gave their guarantee that they will do that.”
National Bushfire Recovery Agency boss Andrew Colvin said he was just getting his head around the sheer scale of the destruction and the different relief and recovery needs of communities.
“There are people who may not have lost their home but they don’t have a workplace to go to. There are businesses that may still stand but there’s no customers because the road is blocked and it could be some time before it’s re-established,” he told reporters.
Mr Colvin promised to listen to communities about their wishes for rebuilding and recovery and plans to travel to as many affected areas as possible.
The 8500 insurance claims lodged so far total about $700 million.
“Around 20 per cent of those claims have already been assessed, bearing in mind that the fires have been going for some months now,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Of those 20 per cent of claims that have been assessed, around half of those have already been settled.”
Insurance Council of Australia executive director Rob Whelan said the average contents claim was about $50,000, while house claims were about $300,000.
Natural disaster and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the Human Services department has opened pop-up offices in fire-hit towns.
“They’ve been instructed to get the money into people’s pockets. Yes, we will audit it and expect people to act with honesty and integrity but the money has to get out and give people the dignity and respect they deserve,” he said.
Federal Bureau Chief Canberra