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Types of bushfire controls

The building and planning systems regulate development in areas where there is a bushfire hazard using the:

These controls aim to make people and buildings safer from the impacts of bushfire.

What is a bushfire hazard?

A bushfire hazard is created by:

  • fuel, such as, leaf litter and vegetation, and may include forested areas, woodlands, shrublands, heathlands or grasslands
  • the potential for topography and weather conditions to contribute to fire behaviour.

The hazard can influence what a fire will do and how it will behave in the landscape. It is a source of potential harm or a situation with a potential to cause loss.

Discover what bushfire controls may apply to your property

To see what controls apply to your property create a property report.

You can create a property report using:

The property report includes:

  • zone and any overlay(s) that apply, including the bushfire management overlay (BMO) and any schedule if it applies to the property
  • Bushfire prone area (BPA) status and a map showing extent of the BPA if it applies.

The information in the property report reflects the current planning controls in the planning scheme.

How to use VicPlan to create a planning property report

  1. Start entering a property address in VicPlan and select from the drop-down list that appears. The map will zoom to the property location and an information panel will appear on the left.
  2. Select 'create planning property report' in the information panel to generate a pdf property report.

Note: the same report can be generated for parcels. Choose the 'parcel' option rather than 'properties'.

You can also zoom and pan to any property on the map to create a property report.

  1. Click on the property on the map.
  2. From the information panel choose the 'properties' option then click on the planning property report hyperlink. A pdf planning property report will download.

If the property report fails to generate use the VicPlan map - the property may be in a new subdivision and a property report cannot be generated yet. In this case you:

  1. Enter the address at VicPlan. If this does not provide a result, enter an established road nearby and zoom in or out to locate your property.
  2. Links to the applicable zone and overlay(s), including the bushfire management overlay (BMO) if it applies, will appear in the left panel.
  3. To find out if a designated bushfire prone area (BPA) applies:
    1. select 'layers' (bottom of left panel)in the left panel, next to 'bushfire', tick the box and click on the +bushfire controls will apply if the BMO or BPA appear on the property.

What do the controls mean?

Bushfire prone area (BPA)

Areas that are likely to experience bushfires are designated as BPA. If your property is in a BPA, your building permit will require that you meet specific construction standards for bushfire protection.

You may also need planning approval to use or develop your land.

Bushfire management overlay (BMO)

The BMO applies to land that may be significantly affected by extreme bushfires. If you are in the BMO, the BPA also applies. If your property is in a BMO, you may need a planning permit if you want to build or develop your land. If your development requires a planning permit your planning permit application will need to address the bushfire hazard.

Ongoing permit obligations

Permits for buildings and works in the BPA, including the BMO come with ongoing requirements such as the maintenance of vegetation for defendable space and maintenance of dedicated water tanks for fire-fighting purposes. Purchasers of established properties in the BPA should be aware that ongoing obligations tied to a permit for development on the property may exist.

Speak to the local council to obtain more information on any existing planning permits and ongoing requirements.

Roles and responsibilities for planning compliance and enforcement landowner

The landowner has primary responsibility for complying with the planning permit conditions, even when the property is rented to another person or only used from time to time.  A landowner needs to understand the conditions and what they need to do to continue to comply with these legal requirements.

As a landowner you should:

  • Keep a copy of the permit and any endorsed plans accessible
  • Understand what the permit conditions require, and talk to your council or relevant fire authority if you need advice
  • Include any permit obligations in your annual bushfire season preparation.

Responsible authority

A responsible authority, usually a council, administers and enforces their planning scheme. This involves enforcing compliance with the planning scheme, permit conditions and agreements.

A few options are available to a responsible authority to carry out enforcement of planning permit conditions. These are explained in Chapter 7 of Using Victoria’s Planning System.

Councils can support compliance with permit conditions by:

  • Separately identifying planning permits and conditions issued under the BMO
  • Raising awareness about ongoing compliance through regular reminders to landowners and providing information with rate notices, on council websites or in newsletters
  • Considering relevant permits as part of its municipal fire prevention and management functions.

Referral authority

Planning permit conditions relating to bushfire protection are usually required by the relevant fire authority, such as the Country Fire Authority or Fire Rescue Victoria, where a planning permit is referred to them under the BMO, or where bushfire matters are an important consideration in making a decision under other planning scheme provisions.

The relevant fire authority can provide expert advice about compliance with permit conditions required by them.

BPA and BMO mapping reviews

The BPA and BMO hazard maps trigger planning and building requirements. These maps are based on criteria and are approved and updated by the Minister for Planning.

Learn more about the criteria and reviews:

Preparing my property from bushfire

People in bushfire areas may have access to:

Permit exemptions to clear vegetation

Planning permit exemptions apply to ensure that landowners with existing homes can take some action to manage and maintain vegetation on their property for bushfire protection.

For bushfire protection, a planning permit may not be required for:

Permit exemptions to build a private bushfire shelter

To build a private bushfire shelter, a planning permit may not be required:

Other ways to prepare for bushfire

Landowners can prepare for a bushfire event in other ways, such as knowing the location of their local community safer places, having a bushfire plan or learning about bushfire behaviour.

For more information, refer to the website below:

Page last updated: 21/11/23