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The Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations (LPS Regulations) 2015 were superseded in December 2020 by the Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020, which introduced various improvements to local planning processes.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

LPS Regulations 2015:   

  • 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 bushfire prone area (unless exemptions apply); 
  • state that despite Cl.61 development approval exemptions, Cl. 78D(3) requires development approval for habitable buildings and land uses on sites that receive a Bush Attack Level (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 an 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 ‘bushfire 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.     

LPS Regulations 2015 complement SPP 3.7 and the accompanying Guidelines.

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 conservation values are considered. 

More 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 requires an applicant to provide a BAL assessment confirming 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 more information on the amendments.