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Authorities to reopen homes in Kinglake bushfire zone

Matthew Schulz, Herald Sun 16 March 2009

The State Coroner has lifted the special police powers restrict access, which were imposed to allow investigators to search for human remains in burnt-out properties.

Removing rubble and other items by residents will depend on safety declarations by local council authorities.

Mr Walshe said removing the restrictions did not mean the area was safe.

He said council surveyors would inspect each property for safety issues, before people could retrieve belongings.

“Once the property has been declared safe, owners will be able to return and retrieve any items remaining they wish to take before the site is cleared,” he said.

Kinglake residents returned to their homes over the weekend, giving them extra time before the area is open to the public.

Mr Walshe expected roads would be busy when blocks were lifted but dismissed concerns about fears of ongoing looting.

"My understanding is some (residents) have yet to come back and they probably will be dealing with emotional issues that (haven't) allowed them to come back up here,'' he said.

"We believe that the police presence up here has been quite successful. We have no evidence of any looting or any theft from any properties up here at all.''

Marysville residents are expected to be allowed to return to their homes later this week.

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