Bushfire recommendations to impact existing landowners
Bushfire Report Recommendations
The Premier accepted all 76 recommendations in the Independent Inquiry on Bushfires. Critically, for the development sector, the Inquiry found that while the planning system incorporates extensive and generally effective bush fire resilience into all developments on designated bush fire prone land, there is an opportunity to develop a more proactive and strategic approach to managing the increasing risk presented by bush fires.
To overcome this in the longer term, the inquiry recommends Government should move towards a model based on the NSW Flood Prone Land Policy so that it can take a whole-of-government strategic planning approach to transition those buildings and places at the greatest risk of an event to other more appropriate uses, including potential acquisition, and provide greater certainty when deciding where new development should be located. UDIA has written to the Department to request clarification on what that means.
In the shorter term, the inquiry recommends Government should take a range of measures to improve education, compliance, auditing and enforcement in respect of bush fire standards for local developments and assets this could include:
- prepare, in association with the insurance sector, a model framework and statutory basis for the establishment of an enforcement, compliance and education program which adopts a risk-based approach to routine inspection of local bush fire prone developments to ensure that every local development on bush fire prone land is prepared for future bush fire seasons in accordance with bush fire protection standards of the day, that account for worsening conditions
- ensure local government is resourced to enable effective audit, enforcement and compliance powers in respect of local developments and assets on bush fire land
- consider the introduction of subsidies for property owners to undertake site mitigation works to reduce bush fire risk and work with the Insurance Council of Australia to develop an agreed set of measures to insure against with a view to risk reductions resulting in lower insurance premiums
In many cases these short-term actions seem to impact existing landowners. UDIA strongly believes that Planning for Bushfire Protection should not be amended, and we made a submission to the Inquiry.
UDIA NSW has written to the Department of Planning seeking further clarification to the next steps of implementation and implications for land use planning.