Bushfire Planning and Management

The Department of Planning has recently released the updated Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas version 1.2.


Periodically reviewed, the Guidelines are an accompaniment to the State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (SPP 3.7), providing advice, information and assistance in the interpretation of how bushfire risk is to be addressed when planning, designing or assessing a planning proposal within a designated bushfire prone area.


The key changes in the Guidelines version 1.2 include: 

  • clearer definitions provided on what constitutes a ‘vulnerable land-use’
  • additional detail on information that needs to be provided in an emergency evacuation plan to accompany development applications for ‘vulnerable land-uses’ and broader definition of professionals that can prepare these plans
  • additional detail on methodologies for Bushfire Hazard Level (BHL) and Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessments, including specific mapping standards.


Strategen believe the five key points of greatest significance to developers, planners, local governments and landowners are:

  1. Previous examples of what may constitute a ‘vulnerable land-use’ were very broad.  The amended definition is now limited to land-uses involving:

(a)   facilities accommodating people with reduced physical or mental ability such as the elderly, children, sick or injured such as nursing homes, education centres, day care centres and hospitals

(b)   facilities that offer limited access or the number of people accommodated present evacuation challenges, such as prisons and detention centres

(c)    short stay accommodation or visitation uses, including bed and breakfast, caravan and camping grounds, holiday accommodation, home business, tourist development and workers’ accommodation.

2. Where a ‘vulnerable land-use’ will be contained within an existing single residence or ancillary building, proposals may now be treated as a ‘minor development’ under SPP 3.7, recognising that these types of proposals may have limited ability to achieve the bushfire protection criteria.

3. Emergency evacuation plans no longer require preparation or endorsement by a Level 3 bushfire planning practitioner.

4. Reiteration of the need for a compliance report to be prepared after subdivision works or stage of works have been completed to certify that indicative BAL contours from a Bushfire Management Plan are accurate and to inform prospective lot purchasers.  This compliance report can also be used in place of lot specific BAL assessment at the development application stage and/or building permit stage.

5. Updated methodologies for BHL and BAL assessments require identification of classified vegetation within 150 m of development sites, as opposed to 100 m, to provide broader context of surrounding bushfire hazards.


With these changes effective immediately, they will need to be considered in all future bushfire planning proposals. 


In light of this, Strategen has extensive expertise and experience in preparing emergency evacuation plans for a range of vulnerable land-use planning proposals, including aged care facilities, tourist accommodation, such as caravan, camping and leisure parks, education centres and day care centres.


We are also experienced in providing BAL compliance reports, with individual lot BAL certificates, to meet subdivision conditions, inform prospective land purchasers and accompany building permit applications.


Having considerable BHL and BAL assessment experience and high level GIS capabilities, means that our clients can be confident they are receiving services and outcomes customised to meet their needs.


Ensuring that bushfire management approaches address the information and assessment requirements relevant to each planning stage is crucial in achieving prompt development approvals. 

At Strategen we understand the challenges of bushfire management for developers, planners, local governments and landowners.  Our expert advice and superior service ensures we create tailored, innovative solutions to solve your bushfire challenges.

Don’t hesitate to contact any member of our bushfire planning and management team for guidance and assistance.