Premier Thanks Dr. Ken Michael For His Bushfire Recovery Leadership

Premier Thanks Dr. Ken Michael For His Bushfire Recovery Leadership

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Clean-Up Of Yarloop Reaches Major Milestone

Victor P Taffa

  • Ken Michael finishes term as State Recovery Controller
  • Clean-up of Yarloop largely complete and site office closed
  • New community centre part of proposed future options

The Liberal National Government-led clean-up effort at Yarloop and surrounding areas in the shires of Harvey and Waroona, which were devastated by a bushfire earlier this year, is wrapping up with the bulk of works complete and the delivery of a package of proposed options for the future of the township.

Premier Colin Barnett thanked Dr. Ken Michael for his leadership of the clean-up and community consultation process as the State’s first State Recovery Controller.

“Dr. Michael was appointed to this position on January 19 in recognition of the complex challenges in co-ordinating the recovery effort for a bushfire of such an extensive scale and consequence.” Premier Barnett said.

“He has stepped down from this role after presenting me with a report about the outcomes of the clean-up and community consultation process.

“I thank him for undertaking this challenging role for the past nine months and I am sure the community appreciates the care and effort he has taken.”

The State Government clean-up team has now been disbanded. The State Recovery Coordinator, with some assistance from the Shire of Harvey, will complete any outstanding works in Yarloop.

Premier Barnett said the clean-up was the most complex ever undertaken by the Government with more than 200 properties (homes, major buildings and outbuildings) cleaned up and 60,000 tonnes of debris removed to date, with 11 clean-up crews operating on the project at its peak.

While undertaking the removal of fire-damaged material in Yarloop, evidence of historic environmental contamination, including asbestos and heavy metals, was also discovered in some areas.

As a result, the Government has remediated destroyed residential properties to enable reconstruction; inspected surviving residential properties and, where required, made them safe and fit for habitation; and cleaned up public open spaces to make them safe for their intended use.

In parallel to the clean-up efforts, an extensive consultation process with community members from Yarloop and surrounding areas was undertaken.

More than 180 interviews with property owners, tenants, local businesses and community stakeholders were held, and the results of the consultation process were taken into account in developing proposed options for Yarloop’s future with the Shire of Harvey and relevant Government agencies.

“Proposed options include the construction of a new community centre as a cornerstone for the town, development of a light industrial zone to help stimulate economic activity and a workshops precinct to encourage tourism.” Premier Barnett said.

“The proposed options have been provided to and workshopped with the community at a community meeting at Harvey in August.  Government agencies will support the Shire of Harvey, as required, further investigating and developing them.”

“As Dr. Michael says in his report, I have no doubt that the strong community spirit and resilience of the people will see Yarloop recover.” Premier Barnett said.

Fact File

  • Yarloop fully reopened on August 12, 2016