Comprehensive and up to date information helps to make better planning decisions which ultimately can make communities more resilient to bushfires.
Ongoing implementation of updated bushfire mapping in extreme hazard areas is a key part of the Victorian State Government's commitment to deliver the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
Note: This website is provided as a resource for local government. The website includes technical documents, maps and other material primarily for the use of planners and fire experts. Some of this information is a draft version and subject to change. The material is not intended for use by the general public.
- Maps and schedules likely to be introduced late April 2017
- Informing the community
- Communication tools available
- Statutory Implementation Workshops available
- Ongoing BMO map review process
The State Planning Policy Framework – Bushfire will be updated by a VC amendment to include reference to the Bushfire Prone Area map. This change further integrates the planning and building systems response to bushfire hazard.
Updated Bushfire Management Overlay maps will be introduced by a GC amendment to ensure that all areas of extreme bushfire hazard in Victoria are included in the Bushfire Management Overlay. The mapping update applies criteria developed in accordance with the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
Schedules to streamline the application process by specifying requirements for particular locations are also being developed and progressively introduced.
- Summary Information Sheet (PDF, 251.5 KB) or (DOC, 327.5 KB)
- Planning for Bushfire - 2016 Mapping and Policy Update - Information for Planners (PDF, 1.1 MB) or (DOC, 621.0 KB) (including the updated State Planning Policy Framework)
- Planning Advisory Note 46: Bushfire Management Overlay Mapping Methodology and Criteria (PDF, 157.1 KB) or (DOC, 150.5 KB)
Subject to Ministerial approval, updating mapping is likely to be introduced into local planning schemes in late April 2017. This timing will allow DELWP to work with each council to prepare an effective implementation strategy that caters to the needs of each community. It will also allow council officers to attend implementation workshops prior to the maps introduction.
Targeted local government consultation has now been completed. Final proposed maps can be viewed in the table below.
Some BMO areas are shown on the maps with an associated number (i.e. BMO1). These numbers refer to schedules where streamlined application processes are available to landowners.
GIS data files
A package of updated data files with the GIS information for the updated Bushfire Management Overlay is available for your council if required. Please email email@example.com to advise the format you require.
The Planning for Bushfire Update project includes the introduction of schedules into planning schemes.
Why use schedules
Schedules to the Bushfire Management Overlay can specify bushfire safety measures that are tailored to suit the local bushfire risk. These measures can include:
- Predetermined Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL)
- Defendable Space
- Water Supply
- Access requirements
Schedules streamline the process for applicants, council and the CFA by:
- removing the need to carry out individual bushfire site assessments
- detailing simpler application information requirements
- specifying the required bushfire protection measures upfront
- indicating when referral to the CFA is not required.
DELWP and CFA are working to introduce as many schedules as possible at the same time as the maps.
The content of the schedules has been simplified and expressed in plain language making it clear where the schedules apply, the required bushfire safety measures and when referral to the CFA is not required.
Details of the bushfire protection measures referred to in the schedules have been provided in the information sheets below.
- BMO Information Sheet: Defendable Space (DOCX, 16.1 KB)
- BMO Information Sheet: Static Water Supply Requirements (DOCX, 18.9 KB)
- BMO Information Sheet: Access and Egress Arrangements (DOCX, 16.3 KB)
Additional schedules can be developed by council or the CFA at any time. Council led schedules will be informed by CFA advice. Work will be programmed with regard to resources and priorities.
Schedules to be included with mapping update (last updated February 2017)
Public Information Tailored to the Local Community’s Needs
The objective of public information for the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) mapping update is to inform community members that they are located in an area with the potential to be affected by extreme bushfire behaviour.
Tailored information developed with local councils will more effectively inform the community about bushfire hazard and risk. Local involvement is essential for successful communication, and DELWP planning staff are working with councils to tailor public notice to local conditions and needs.
Accessible, Clear and Understandable Information
The public must have access to traditional and online resources that clearly identify the extent to which their land is within an area with the potential to be affected by extreme bushfire behaviour.
Other communication tools can then outline what inclusion in the BMO means for them.
Once the maps are introduced, to find out if land is in the BMO, the public can check Planning Maps Online, obtain a Planning Property Report, ask their local council, or contact DELWP’s planning enquiries line on 1300 366 356.
A communications strategy has been developed by DELWP and the Country Fire Association (CFA). The communication tools below have been drawn from this strategy and are intended for release in April 2017 as part of the implementation process.
Material can be tailored to the needs of individual councils in March 2017 prior to the public release, if required. Please note that any changes to the communication tools documents must be cross checked with DELWP Planning Systems to ensure consistency is maintained.
DELWP encourages each council to review these tools, and to determine an appropriate local strategy for distributing the materials in April 2017 once the updated mapping is introduced.
Please contact DELWP Planning Systems to discuss council's preferred notification strategy and financial support, if required.
Councils are encouraged to coordinate public notification strategies with DELWP in March 2017 for releases in April 2017.
- Communication Tools
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly for the following tools
- Communication strategy (working document internal)
- Social media posts and responses
- Newspaper articles
- Planning and Building Guidelines for Bushfire in Victoria (DRAFT - internal) (PDF, 2.6 MB)
Other communication material is progressively being developed with councils and will be shared via this website.
DELWP are preparing to hold BMO training workshops in March - April 2017.
These sessions will provide council officers with a strategic overview of bushfire policy and the requirements of the BMO. It will also help officers to understand the statutory implications at a local level.
These workshop will be held subject to demand. If your council would like to be involved, please view the document below and contact email@example.com
Funding remains available to assist local government implement the updated mapping. The communication tools will provide some assistance. DELWP acknowledges that further financial assistance may be required in certain regions.
A number of councils have requested funding for tailored information and targeted community engagement sessions. If you would like to consider similar opportunities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options.
Locally based public information initiatives across Victoria
|Public information initiative||Brief description||Municipalities|
|Community Engagement Officer|
Community Engagement Officer
Number of drop-in sessions
Produce information material
|Community Engagement Officer|
Community Engagement Officer
Produce information material
|Mail out to affected properties||350 properties to receive letter||Melton|
|Broadscale notification||Communication material and support||Greater Bendigo|
|Broadscale notification||Communication material and support||Yarra Ranges|
|Community engagement||Produce information material||Wellington|
The building system has a bi-annual Bushfire Prone Area review process led by DELWP.
DELWP is proposing to extend this bushfire hazard review process to allow regular future BMO updates.
This strategy will align the planning and building systems response to bushfire, and ensure that bushfire hazards are effectively monitored in both the planning and building system.
The first BMO review is expected to be underway in July 2017.
Pre lodgement meeting with council officers
The request to remove land from the Bushfire Management Overlay should be discussed with council officers prior to submitting the request to DELWP.
A pre-lodgement meeting with council officers ensures that a prospective request undergoes some quality control, and applicants are given general advice.
Requests that have no prospect of success can be identified early. Conversely requests can be fast-tracked if local knowledge has identified that the bushfire hazard has been permanently removed. Council officers will be supported by DELWP officers as required.
DELWP is committed to providing ongoing advice and support, and is providing access to training for council and DELWP officers.
Draft web page below
The web page and request form below will be made available to the public when the updated maps are gazetted in late April 2017. The intent is that the web page and form are simple and clear, and further guidance or reference to other material is not needed in most cases.
We welcome any suggestions on improvements to the web page and form prior to their release.
Requesting removal of the Bushfire Management Overlay from a property
Bushfire Management Overlay mapping is reviewed regularly on an ongoing basis. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has committed to working with local councils, emergency services and other key stakeholders to ensure the mapping is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
To find out if land is in a Bushfire Management Overlay, you can check on Planning Maps Online, the Planning Property Report or through enquiries with your local council or the department's planning enquiries line at 1300 366 356.
Who can make a request?
A request to remove the Bushfire Management Overlay from land can be made at any time by the property owner or local government.
Criteria for assessing the request
A request to remove the Bushfire Management Overlay will be assessed against the mapping criteria set out in Planning Advisory Note 46: Bushfire Management Overlay Mapping Methodology and Criteria (PDF, 157.1 KB) or (DOC, 150.5 KB)
|Criteria 1 - Vegetation type and size|
|Criteria 2 - Ember buffer|
|Criteria 3 - Extreme risk inclusions|
Making a request
A request to remove the Bushfire Management Overlay should first be discussed with your council who may consult with the CFA and DELWP.
The form below should be used to ensure all relevant information is supplied (including property address and photographic evidence showing the vegetation is no longer present)
There is no fee for lodging a request to review the mapping.
Pre lodgement discussions with council officers
A request to remove the BMO should be discussed with your local council before you lodge a formal request. Your council will give you general advice and may also consult with the CFA and DELWP.
Providing the contact details of the relevant council officer with your request will streamline the process. It will allow DELWP officers to discuss your application directly with the council in a timely manner.
If the council supports your request this can be added as a note or an attachment. This isn’t mandatory. A landowner can still submit a request without council support however DELWP officers will consult with council.
Assessment of a request
The request should be sent to DELWP for assessment (which is done in consultation with fire and emergency agencies). The request can be submitted by council or the landowner directly to DELWP by emailing email@example.com
Requests will be assessed by DELWP in consultation with fire and emergency services and councils.
Amending the planning scheme map
Requests for review that are approved by DELWP will be consolidated into a single planning scheme amendment for a number of planning schemes.
Regular amendments at six monthly intervals will be prepared by DELWP to update the Bushfire Management Overlay at no cost to local government or the public.
The first BMO mapping review is expected to be underway by mid 2017.