Bushfire recovery 2019-20

The Victorian Government has introduced new planning and building rules to help support communities recover and rebuild when impacted by bushfires. This applies to bushfires after 1 January 2019 and all future bushfires.

Drawing of house in burnt surrounds being rebuilt

When people lose their home during a bushfire, providing access to temporary housing is a vital step towards recovery.

Clause 52.07 of the planning scheme allows people to set up a temporary dwelling on their land without a planning permit.

The clause also applies to damaged or destroyed businesses. It allows business owners to set up temporary premises without a planning permit.

There are still some things you will need to do before you can set up a temporary dwelling.

You can find out more in the fact sheet Planning permit exemptions for bushfire recovery (PDF, 439.5 KB) or (DOCX, 31.1 KB).

There are also Frequently Asked Questions sheets for homeowners and businesses available here:

To complement the requirements in Clause 52.07, the Building Regulations 2018 have also been amended. This allows landowners who have lost their homes because of a major emergency to construct and occupy temporary accommodation on site while their permanent home is rebuilt.

Together, these changes ensure a landowner who has lost their primary residence is exempt from the obligation to apply for either a planning or a building permit to use temporary accommodation.

You can find out more in the fact sheet: Emergency Accommodation Fact Sheet (PDF, 138.7 KB) or (DOCX, 27.8 KB)

Information about other help available is on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website

Rebuilding after a bushfire can be challenging for communities and landowners. Clause 52.10 has been introduced to all planning schemes to exempt some parts of the planning permit process and to streamline and simplify rebuilding.

You may need a planning permit to rebuild your home. The requirements for building permits, consents and other approvals may still apply. Your council can help you with the relevant requirements and exemptions and what needs to be provided when applying for a permit. 

Features of the new permit assessment process for rebuilding include exemptions from giving notice of your application and third-party appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Additionally, the Chief Executive Officer of council will decide on your application.

The fact sheet Planning exemptions for bushfire reconstruction (PDF, 53.4 KB) or  (DOCX, 31.5 KB) explains the new exemptions and requirements in clause 52.10.

There is also a Frequently Asked Questions sheet available here: 

Information about general assistance is on the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website

Building considerations and resources

Information about post-bushfire hazards, safety considerations and temporary accommodation is available from the Victorian Building Authority.

Building regulations and construction requirements continue to be applied to dwellings being rebuilt in a Bushfire Management Overlay. These ensure that the building permit process provides for measures including dedicated on-site water supply for fire-fighting purposes, and all-weather access for emergency vehicles.

Information about rebuilding in areas affected by bushfire is available from the Victorian Building Authority.

Other relevant websites

  • Bushfire Recovery Victoria is a new, permanent and dedicated Victorian Government agency working directly with local communities to listen, help and deliver what they need during recovery from bushfire.
  • Emergency Management Victoria is Victoria's combined source of emergency information and warnings, helping the community to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies across the state.
  • Victorian Building Authority regulates building and plumbing practitioners and responds to general enquiries from the public about the building and plumbing industries to help them after emergencies.
  • Insurance Council of Australia provides practical information to help people find out more about insurance and make decisions that meet their needs.
  • The department’s your property page has more information about whether bushfire controls apply to your property and what that means for you.

Previous bushfires

There are existing provisions for properties affected by the Wye River bushfire in 2015 and Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

The planning exemptions introduced in clause 52.07 and clause 52.10 support the Bunyip community impacted by the March 2019 bushfires.

The department is supporting the affected councils Southern Grampians, Moyne and Corangamite Shires to assist affected landowners with permit applications to rebuild. These bushfires directly impacted 422 properties, with 26 dwellings destroyed and two dwellings damaged.

The department will assist the councils with GIS mapping information and other planning and building support as required and streamline and facilitate access to agencies such as the Victorian Building Authority and the Victorian Planning Authority.

To find out more email: planning.systems@delwp.vic.gov.au

The government streamlined planning controls and the process for rebuilding dwellings that were damaged by the 2015 bushfires. You can read about the separate arrangements in place at Building in Wye/Sep bushfire affected areas and Wye/Sep Connect Planning and Building.

After the 2009 fires, provisions were introduced to enable bushfire recovery.

Provisions for the occupation of temporary accommodation currently apply.

You can read the relevant provisions at clauses 52.13 and 52.14 of the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes.

Page last updated: 09/10/20