Planning Scheme Amendment VC176 was gazetted on 5 August 2020 and makes changes to Clause 52.12: Bushfire Protection Exemptions as follows:
- aligning application of the existing 10/30 and fence line vegetation exemptions with bushfire prone areas designated under the Building Act 1993 across all Victorian councils, where previously the inner metropolitan councils were excluded from the exemptions;
- removing the schedules to the clause;
- updating the wording under the fence line exemption, specifically the 4 metre rule, to match that in Clause 52.17 Native Vegetation;
- clarifying that no permit is required to remove vegetation for the construction of a dwelling, and alteration and extension to a dwelling, or the creation of its defendable space when approved under the Bushfire Management Overlay; and
- other minor administrative corrections.
The amendments implement the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fire Season Preparedness and comprehensive state wide bushfire mapping, which were completed following the introduction of these exemptions in response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.
This is a consistent risk-based approach as no councils will be specifically excluded from the provision. Landowners that have land mapped as a bushfire hazard will have access to the vegetation clearing exemptions.
Town Planning & Co. welcome the changes, which reduce bushfire risk in vulnerable areas and provide greater clarity and consistency regarding between planning and building related bushfire matters. However it should be noted that the exemption for vegetation removal is effectively removed from many areas where the benefits of the exemption were previously enjoyed, specifically non-bushfire prone areas designated under the Building Act 1993. Town Planning & Co recommend a review of any current or upcoming projects to confirm whether the exemption continues to apply.
The amendment can be viewed here:
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