Kiama clean-up: residents warned of scams

NSW Fair Trading has issued an urgent message to storm-affected Kiama residents, warning of labouring and charity scammers who are often quick to take advantage of victims when disaster strikes.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said residents should be wary of that unskilled labourers and out-and-out scammers during the clean-up.

‘‘They seek to make a quick buck and move on as soon as they are paid, leaving unfinished or shoddy work behind,’’ Mr Stowe said. 

“Home building repairs, including roof tiling, painting, glazing and fencing involving materials and labour over $1,000 as well as all electrical wiring and plumbing work are jobs for which you should only use a licensed tradesperson.’’

Residents can check trade licences online at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for help. 

Anyone caught operating without an appropriate licence can face fines of up to $22,000. 

Mr Stowe also warned about people claiming to be charity workers collecting for the relief effort. 

“People should donate through official channels and to authorised charitable organisations,’’ he said.

‘‘If approached on the street, ask to see identification and if in doubt, choose other means to donate.’’

‘‘Flood-affected residents should also not provide bank details or any other personal information over the phone.’’

Useful contacts for people affected by the Kiama storm

■ For information about disposal of debris and green waste phone Kiama Municipal Council on 4232 0444 or Shellharbour City Council on  4221 6111.

■ To arrange an inspection for asbestos of a storm damaged home call the State Emergency Service on 132 500

■ For information about disaster assistance go to www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.

■ If you have an insurance claim to make phone 1800 734 621 to have your claim assessment expedited.

■ For assistance with emergency accommodation phone Kiama Council on 4232 0444.

■ Access to the shower facilities at Surf Beach Holiday Park is available between the hours of 8am and 7.30pm for use of the council shower facilities.

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Kiama mayor praises front line volunteers

As Kiama residents continue the clean up after Sunday’s violent storm, mayor Brian Petschler commended the ‘‘outstanding work’’ of those who have been working on the front line for the past two days.

‘‘I am extraordinarily proud of the way the local emergency services have responded to this natural disaster, the response has been well coordinated and well executed,’’ he said.

‘‘I would especially like to thank Local Area Commander Wayne Starling, Deputy Controller of the Kiama SES John Wall and Regional SES Controller Greg Murphy for their superior efforts coordinating the emergency services response to this natural disaster.’’

He also thanked council engineering and works director Bryan Whittaker and staff who have worked to clean-up the affected areas and assist local emergency services organizations.

Disposal of small debris and green waste 

Kiama and Shellharbour residents affected by Sunday’s storm will be able to dispose of waste for free.

Kiama Council is allowing affected residents to dispose of green waste free of charge at the Minnamurra Waste Collection Facility until March 11. The time could be extended if necessary.

Residents will need to present a rate notice or driver’s licence to show they live in the area.

Kiama residents will also be able to dispose on non-contaminated small debris waste for free at the Dunmore Waste Depot. This will require a voucher which can be collected at the Minnamurra facility.

Shellharbour residents can dispose of green waste at the Dunmore waste disposal site for free while building waste will be accepted from properties identified as impacted by the storm, until March 6.

Leisure centre to remain closed

Kiama Leisure Centre will be closed indefinitely due to significant storm damage.

Glass from panels at the side of the leisure centre, smashed by falling branches, was strewn through the pool area and Cr Petschler said further damage was expected in the gym area.

Cr Petschler said Kiama council was about to spend more than a million dollars replacing the leisure centre’s roof however further assessment of the centre would have to wait until the asbestos was cleared.

Emergency shower facilities and accommodation

Kiama Council is welcoming people affected by the storm who require shower facilities to use the Surf Beach Holiday Park between the hours of 8am and 7.30pm.

The council is also working with local welfare organisations to provide emergency housing for those affected by the disaster.

Residents who require further information are urged to contact Kiama Council Customer Services on 4232 0444.

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