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Rebuilding and repairing

Decisions about if, when and how to rebuild will be different for every household and business impacted by bushfire. This page aims to give you an overview of what you can do now, what's been put in place to assist rebuilding following bushfire, and what's involved in clean up and rebuilding.

On this page:

Site clean-up and cost recovery

The NSW Government is coordinating the clean-up of bushfire impacted homes and businesses and will cover the costs of this. This includes both insured and uninsured properties. The Public Works Advisory has appointed Laing O'Rourke Australia to facilitate the clean-up. Where possible, they will engage local contractors to safely and efficiently clear properties.

  • NSW Public works are still investigating sites for asbestos. This will continue for some time.
  • After an inspection you may see a Hazard Identification Notice displayed at a property. This lets you know what potential hazards have been identified during an assessment.
  • It is important not to access properties until they have been assessed. For more information regarding hazards or the status of the assessment, contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 885 539.
  • If your property has been impacted, please register as soon as you can so your property is included in the clean-up program. This is the first step in getting your property cleaned up:
  • Once you have registered, you will be contacted by the Public Works Advisory or Laing O'Rourke Australia to begin planning your property's clean up.
  • The NSW Government expects that most residential properties will be substantially cleared by 30 June 2020. It may take longer to clean up isolated properties in remote areas and regions where there is still active fire.

Find out more about site clean-up, including what's included and the steps involved, on the Service NSW website:

Local businesses and contractors register

Local businesses can sign up for the NSW Government bushfire supplier list. The purpose of the supplier list is to connect buyers with local suppliers so they can give first preference to an appropriate local supplier wherever possible.

Qualified contractors can register interest in performing clean-up work, and any local businesses and contractors with the capacity to provide goods or services to bushfire affected areas can register to do so:

Tree and vegetation removal

On private land

Trees on private urban land that are considered to be an imminent risk to life or property do not require Council approval to be removed.

Urban land consists of zones E4, R5, R2, R3, B1, B2, B4, B5 and RU5. All other zones are considered rural. You can use the NSW Planning Portal to confirm your property's zoning.

  • If the tree is considered to be an imminent risk, the owner should contact the SES or an arborist to have the tree removed.
  • Property owners should take a photo of the tree smouldering/leaning over the dwelling and email it to Council as a record:
  • If the owner does not consider the tree an imminent risk to life or property, the standard tree removal application process applies. For more information, contact the Development Help Desk:

On rural land

For removal of vegetation on rural land (zones RU1 and RU4) contact Local Land Service on 6491 7800.

NSW RFS 10/50 Code

Another avenue for exemption from approval to remove a tree is the NSW Rural Fire Service 10/50 Code. Please check the RFS website to ensure that your property is eligible:

Report hazardous trees on Council-managed land

Please contact us to report trees on Council-managed land for hazard assessment:

Water and sewer services

Council’s water and sewer service lines into properties destroyed by bushfire have been temporarily disconnected to prevent leaks and to ensure the infrastructure is not damaged during the clean-up phase. When property owners are ready to rebuild, they can contact Council to arrange reconnection free of charge.

Changes to planning rules to assist rebuilding

The NSW Government has made changes to planning rules to make it easier for people to rebuild after bushfires.

People impacted by bushfire will be able to:

  • clean-up and make their properties safe without needing planning approvals
  • store their belongings onsite, such as in shipping containers, while they rebuild
  • establish temporary accommodation, such as caravans, without requiring Council approval

Government services and agencies will continue to identify other ways they can support the recovery and rebuild effort, and we will keep this page updated with any new information.

Temporary rules for building works

Amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) allow a range of low impact works to be carried out as exempt development.

For more information on works that can be carried out without Council approval, please contact the Bushfire Response Advice Line:

Temporary accommodation

Amendments to the Local Government (Manufactured Homes Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Amendment (Bush Fire Response) Regulation 2020 (Local Government Regulation) will assist in the provision of emergency accommodation for people affected by bushfires.

The Bushfire Housing Assistance Service provides help with:

  • emergency temporary accommodation
  • a private rental bond and advance rent costs
  • sourcing accommodation options from the private rental and short-term housing sector
  • sourcing accommodation options in your local communities or areas where you have family or local networks.

To access the service phone the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444, or visit the Department of Communities and Justice Housing website and enter your postcode, suburb or town in the search bar to find your nearest housing office.

The NSW Disaster Recovery Facebook page also provides updates and important information for communities in recovery.

Returning to your home and rebuilding

Rebuilding and approvals

  • Outbuildings, garages, carports, cabanas etc, may not require approval.
    Find out more in the State Environmental Planning Policy for exempt development or contact Council to find out if you need approval:
  • If your building plans fit into a Complying Development category under the provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, any Accredited Certifier can issue the Complying Development Certificate. You can find an Accredited Certifier on the NSW Government's Fair Trading website.
  • Dwellings that were destroyed or damaged by bushfire will generally require some type of approval. Council is working out a process to ensure these approvals can be as streamlined as possible. We will keep this page updated and provide details as soon as we can.
  • Dedicated assessment officers will be put in place to fast track all applications for the rebuilding of fire affected properties. In general, the timeframe for processing a Development Application is up to one month.
  • If we have a record of your development consent and you only want to reconstruct what has been destroyed, you may only need a Construction Certificate  to start rebuilding. This only applies to development consents after 2006. Consents issued prior to 2006 will likely require a modified development consent to include a condition requiring compliance with the NSW Rural Fire Services Planning for Bushfire Protection.
  • Landowners seeking to build something different to what has been destroyed, or where there are no records, will need to lodge a Development Application.
  • Regardless of whether you need a Development Application and/or Construction Certificate, you will need an up-to-date bushfire assessment and Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment. As part of your rebuild process, you will need to confirm your BAL in a written report.
  • Council has offered to complete bushfire assessments for all property owners affected by the recent 2019/2020 bushfires. If you would like to register for Council to issue you with a Bushfire Attack Level assessment, please contact us:

We recommend you engage a building designer or draftsperson to prepare your updated house plans for you. Using a qualified professional who is familiar with the approval process and documentation will ensure a smooth process.

Check with your building designer or email Council’s Development Help Desk about the best application process for you, based on your needs.

Fees waived

The NSW Government has announced it will waive or refund all BASIX Certificate and Planning Reform fees for people needing to repair and rebuild their bushfire-affected homes.

  • From 4 February 2020 the applicable government fees - BASIX Certificate and Planning Reform Fund fees - will be waived on all Development Applications related to homes damaged or destroyed in the recent bushfires.
  • Affected property owners can contact the Department to arrange for a BASIX Certificate to be issued free of charge:
    • T: 1300 054 464

Damaged onsite sewage management systems

  • If damaged, your system should not be used until it is repaired or replaced. Water use should be reduced until the system is inspected and repaired.
  • If the tank(s) presents a trip/fall hazard, ensure the area around the tank is made safe, eg, cover the tank and use a temporary fence.
  • If you are replacing the system in accordance with existing approval, there is no requirement to submit an application. The work must be done by a suitably qualified person. Prior to works, submit a notice of works to Council and a works as executed plan upon completion.
  • If you wish to modify the type or location of the system, please contact Council. Any modifications will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

More information

For more information and assistance in the clean up or rebuild phase, contact Council's Development Help Desk:

  • T: 02 4474 1231
  • E: Council's Development Help Desk
  • visit our customer service centre at the corner of Vulcan Street and Campbell Street, Moruya, Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm.