A new State Planning Policy for Bushfire has been included in every planning scheme in Victoria. It seeks to strengthen community resilience to bushfire through the planning system. This includes considering bushfires in planning our cities and towns and ensuring that important bushfire protection measures are part of new development.
The Bushfire Management Overlay includes a statutory provision in planning schemes and a map showing where the provisions apply to specific land.
For those living in an area with a BMO, the requirements for development are clearly specified in the planning scheme so that an applicant can see exactly how their development will be assessed.
A range of bushfire issues such as siting of the building, providing defendable space, on-site water availability and emergency vehicle access will need to be considered.
The BMO provisions ensure that development in areas affected by a significant bushfire hazard will only take place after full consideration of bushfire issues. If risk to life and property from bushfire cannot be reduced to an acceptable level the development will not proceed.
Any planning permit issued under the BMO will include a mandatory condition that requires the homeowner to maintain the bushfire protection measures set out in the permit.
A feature of the BMO is that it enables a council to consider the local nature of bushfire behaviour and risk in an area and allows the council to include local content in a schedule to the overlay where appropriate.