Bushfire planning and the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015

How the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 affect planning for bushfire prone areas.

The Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations (LPS Regulations) 2015 were amended in December 2020 by the Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020, which introduced various improvements to local planning processes. 

Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 

The LPS Amendment Regulations:   

  • state that a property is designated as being within a bushfire prone area by the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner for the purposes of land use planning requirements
  • ensure that a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment is undertaken for new habitable buildings in a bush fire prone area (unless exemptions apply) 
  • Despite Cl.61 development approval exemptions, Cl. 78D(3) require development approval for habitable buildings and land uses on sites that receive a BAL of BAL-40 or BAL-Flame Zone (FZ),  
  • include a four-month transitional period from the date a site is designated as being bushfire prone to ensure landowners and the development industry have time to adequately prepare and
  • ensure Special Control Areas continue to have effect in local government areas.

BAL assessment:

The deemed provisions outline the circumstances in which a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment is required.  This includes a single house or ancillary dwelling (e.g. granny flat) on a lot or lots 1,100m2 or more and for all other habitable or specified buildings in a designated ‘bush fire prone area’: 

  • unless a BAL Contour Map has formed part of a previous subdivision approval and is deemed suitable by the decision-maker of the current proposal or
  • if the BAL Contour Map is not deemed suitable for the purposes of the application being determined, then a BAL assessment may be requested.     

The LPS Regulations complement State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the accompanying Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.

These planning instruments create a revised planning framework for bushfire risk management with the overall objective of preserving life and reducing the impact of bushfire damage on property and infrastructure while ensuring that conservation values are taken into account. 

An explanatory Planning Bulletin has been prepared to provide guidance on interpretation and to ensure clarity in their implementation.

Planning Bulletin 111 - Planning in bushfire prone areas (PDF 225KB) 

Further changes as a result of the Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020.

New Cl.61A of the LPS Regulations provides an avenue for applicants to lodge a deemed-to-comply check to confirm whether planning approval for erection of, or alterations and additions to, a single house is required.

The application form (PDF 156KB) requires an applicant to provide a BAL assessment confirming that the bushfire attack level of the development site is BAL-29 or below, where a single house is proposed on a lot greater than 1,100m2 and the development site is within a designated bushfire prone area.

Please visit the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 page for further information on the amendments.


Page reviewed 8 September 2021