The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies to land that may be significantly affected by a bushfire. The BMO triggers the need for a planning permit for certain developments and requires new developments to include appropriate bushfire protection measures.

This page has a simple five-step process to help you learn more about the BMO, and to help you apply for a planning permit.

Planning Practice Note 65 (PDF, 3.7 MB) provides more detailed information to help prepare an application. It should be read alongside the BMO provisions.

Step 1: Find out if the Bushfire Management Overlay applies

Does the Bushfire Management Overlay apply to my property?

The Bushfire Management Overlay applies to all land shown as WMO or BMO on the planning scheme maps.

To see if the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies to your property you can:

You can also visit the office of your local council to view the BMO planning scheme maps.

View the Bushfire Management Overlay (PDF, 35.8 KB) planning scheme provision.

View the Planning for Bushfire (PDF, 79.2 KB) planning scheme provision.

Read Planning Practice Note 65 (PDF, 3.7 MB) (Preparing and Assessing a Planning Application Under the Bushfire Provisions in Planning Schemes). This practice note will assist in determining whether a planning permit is required, or whether an exemption allows for development to proceed without obtaining planning permission.

See Step 1 of Planning Practice Note 65 (PDF, 91.6 KB)

Rebuilding a dwelling destroyed in 2009

The government has streamlined the planning process for rebuilding dwellings that were damaged by the 2009 bushfires. The Bushfire Management Overlay does not apply to these developments. You can read about the separate arrangements in place at Rebuilding and recovery.

Private bushfire shelters

A planning permit exemption applies to private bushfire shelters. A private bushfire shelter (a Class 10c building within the meaning of the Building Regulations 2006) that has a total area of all buildings and works not exceeding 30 square metres is exempt from requiring planning permission.

This exemption does not apply to land in the Urban Floodway Zone, Erosion Management Overlay, Floodway Overlay, Land Subject to Inundation Overlay, Special Building Overlay or Heritage Overlay. You can check if your property is in any of these other overlays using the Planning Property Reports and Planning Maps Online tools above.

You can read more information here:

Step 2: Identify which application pathway applies

If a planning permit is required under the Bushfire Management Overlay,  it is important that the application pathway is identified early in the process of preparing your application.

Why are there different application pathways?

There are three application pathways,  and each has a different approach to preparing and assessing a planning permit application. The pathways are for:

  • a streamlined approach for dwellings in existing settlements.
  • a more detailed approach for other types of development.
  • special provisions to guide the subdivision of land.
What are the three application pathways?

Planning Practice Note 65 will help you identify your application pathway and learn more about how Clause 52.47 (Planning for Bushfire) operates. The relevant extracts from Practice Note 65 are provided in the table below.

PATHWAY ONE
Single dwellings in existing settlements
Clause 52.47-1
PATHWAY TWO
All other buildings and works
Clause 52.47-2
PATHWAY THREE
Subdivision
Clause 52.47-2

Step 2 pathway one (PDF, 93.0 KB)

Check if this applies in your zone.

Step 2 Pathway Two (PDF, 93.0 KB)

Step 2 Pathway Three (PDF, 92.1 KB)

Step 3 : Assess the bushfire hazard on and around your land

What application requirements apply?

Application requirements are details of the information that must be submitted with your permit application. This information helps you develop the bushfire protection measures to be included in the application. The application requirements are different depending on your application pathway.

Planning Practice Note 65 provides detailed guidance on preparing the information listed in the application requirements. You can read the practice note extracts in the table below relevant to your application pathway for more information.

Application requirementPATHWAY ONE
Single dwellings in existing settlements
Clause 52.47-1
PATHWAY TWO
All other buildings and works
Clause 52.47-2
PATHWAY THREE
Subdivision
Clause 52.47-2
Bushfire hazard site assessmentRequired
Pathway One - site assessment (PDF, 5.0 MB)
Required
Pathway Two - site assessment (PDF, 5.0 MB)
Required
Pathway Three - site assessment (PDF, 5.0 MB)
Bushfire hazard landscape assessmentNot requiredRequired
Pathway Two - landscape assessment (PDF, 5.1 MB)
Required
Pathway Three- landscape assessment (PDF, 5.1 MB)
Bushfire management statementRequired
Pathway One - Bushfire Management Statement (PDF, 92.5 KB)
Required
Pathway Two - Bushfire Management Statement (PDF, 92.5 KB)
Required
Pathway Three - Bushfire Management Statement (PDF, 92.5 KB)
Completing the Bushfire Hazard Site Assessment

Clause 52.47 (Planning for Bushfire) refers to Australian Standard AS 3950 -2009 Construction of buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. You can purchase a copy of this Australian Standard from the SAI Global InfoStore.

Step 4: Prepare an application that includes bushfire protection measures

What bushfire protection measures will I include in my planning application?

Clause 52.47 (Planning for Bushfire) and Practice Note 65 provide you with the information needed to determine what bushfire protection measures to include in your application.

View the Planning for Bushfire (PDF, 79.2 KB) planning scheme provision

Practice Note 65 provides detailed guidance on what bushfire protection measures need to be included in your application. You can read the practice note extracts in the table below relevant to your application pathway.

PATHWAY ONE
Single dwellings in existing settlements
Clause 52.47-1
PATHWAY TWO
All other buildings and works
Clause 52.47-2
PATHWAY THREE
Subdivision
Clause 52.47-2
Step 4 Pathway One (PDF, 1.3 MB)
and
Bushfire Hazard Site Assessment
Bushfire Management Statement
Step 4 Pathway Two (PDF, 2.1 MB)
and
Bushfire Hazard Site Assessment
Bushfire Management Statement
Bushfire Hazard Landscape Assessment
Step 4 Pathway Three
(PDF, 3.2 MB)

and
Bushfire Hazard Landscape Assessment
Bushfire Hazard Site Assessment
Bushfire Management Statement
Pathway One - Appendix 1 (PDF, 7.8 MB)
Pathway One - Appendix 2 (PDF, 353.1 KB)
Pathway One - Appendix 3 (PDF, 614.3 KB)
Pathway Two - Appendix 1 (PDF, 7.8 MB)
Pathway Two - Appendix 2 (PDF, 353.1 KB)
Pathway Two - Appendix 3 (PDF, 614.3 KB)
Pathway Three -Appendix 1 (PDF, 7.8 MB)
Pathway Three -Appendix 2 (PDF, 353.1 KB)
Pathway Three -Appendix 3 (PDF, 614.3 KB)
Landscaping and creating a more fire ready property

For information on landscaping requirements and how to prepare a landscape plan in bushfire areas, see the CFA document: Landscaping for bushfire – Garden design and plant selection.

Step 5: Understand how the council will assess your application and if a permit exemption for creating defendable space applies

Lodge your planning application

You should lodge your planning application with your local council.

Find your local council

More information about making a planning permit application

Planning permit application forms

State Planning Policy Framework

The council will have regard to the state planning policy for bushfire when making its decision. View the planning scheme provision Clause 13.05 State Planning Policy for Bushfire (PDF, 45.3 KB).

Practice Note 65 explains how the council will make a decision. You can read the practice note extracts in the table below relevant to your application pathway.

PATHWAY ONE
Single dwellings in existing settlements
Clause 52.47-1
PATHWAY TWO
All other buildings and works
Clause 52.47-2
PATHWAY THREE
Subdivision
Clause 52.47-2

Step 5 Pathway One Decision Guidelines (PDF, 94.3 KB)

Planning Permit Conditions and Endorsed Plans (PDF, 713.9 KB)

Step 5 Pathway Two Decision Guidelines (PDF, 90.0 KB)

Planning Permit Conditions and Endorsed Plans (PDF, 713.9 KB)

Step 5 Pathway Three Decision Guidelines (PDF, 90.0 KB)

Planning Permit Conditions and Endorsed Plans (PDF, 713.9 KB)

Planning permit exemption to create defendable space

Clause 52.48-5 (Bushfire Protection: Exemptions) sets out a planning permit exemption to create defendable space for a dwelling or an alteration or extension to a dwelling. The exemption only applies when land is in the following zones:

  • General Residential Zone
  • Residential Growth Zone
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone
  • Urban Growth Zone
  • Low Density Residential Zone
  • Township Zone
  • Rural Living Zone
  • Farming Zone
  • Rural Activity Zone

Where the planning permit exemption applies and a planning permit has been issued under the Bushfire Management Overlay, further planning permission is not required to remove, destroy or lop vegetation that implements the defendable space approved in the permit and/or shown on the endorsed plans.

Where the permit exemption in Clause 52.48-5 does not apply, the vegetation management required to implement defendable space will be considered as part of the decision to grant planning permission alongside the relevant vegetation-related planning considerations.

View the planning scheme provisions: Clause 52.48 Bushfire protection: Exemptions (PDF, 30.3 KB)

Planning permit conditions

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission highlighted the importance of complying with the conditions on a planning permit to reduce bushfire risk. It is the responsibility of the permit holder (which is usually the landowner) to ensure ongoing compliance with the conditions on a planning permit. This includes those conditions relating to bushfire.

Some of the ways that landowners, councils and fire authorities can promote compliance with fire related permit conditions are explained in the following sections at Compliance with bushfire planning conditions:

  • Roles and responsibilities of landowners, the responsible authority and referral authorities
  • Advice about the planning permit condition required by the Bushfire Management Overlay
  • Information about how to promote compliance with planning permit conditions
Victoria's planning and building framework

Victoria has one of the highest levels of bushfire risk in the world. The planning and building systems ensure that new development is more resilient to bushfire and supports communities to be more bushfire ready.