Bushfire Framework Review 2019

Information on changes to the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas and the supporting bushfire policy framework.

Bushfire Framework Review 2019

In response to concerns raised by the community, local governments and other stakeholders about the 2015 bushfire reforms, the Minister for Planning in cooperation with the Minister for Emergency Services requested that Dr Tony Buti MLA undertake a review of the bushfire policy framework to examine the effectiveness of the policy. 

Dr Buti’s report – Bushfire Planning and Policy Review: A Review into the Western Australian Framework for Planning and Development in Bushfire Prone Areas – made a number of recommendations for the bushfire policy framework. The Government has responded to these by setting out an action plan of how to optimise the planning and building process while considering bushfire risk to the community.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Building and Energy Division) are working jointly on changes to the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas and the supporting bushfire policy framework. 

The changes aim to introduce more nuance and take a more holistic approach to the designation of bushfire prone areas and the extent of the potential impact on communities. They will be undertaken through a three-stage process, anticipated to be completed in late 2020.

Frequently asked questions

Why is there a Bushfire Framework Review 2019?

In 2015, a bushfire reform package was launched in response to planning and building recommendations made by Mick Keelty AO in his review into the 2011 Perth Hills bushfire.

In response to concerns raised by the community, local governments and other stakeholders about the 2015 bushfire reforms, the Minister for Planning in cooperation with the Minister for Emergency Services requested that Dr Tony Buti MLA undertake a review of the bushfire policy framework to examine the effectiveness of the policy. 

To address the issues identified by Dr Buti in the Bushfire Planning and Policy Review: A Review into the Western Australian Framework for Planning and Development in Bushfire Prone Areas report, the Government will undertake a three-stage package of reform initiatives.

What changes are part of Bushfire Framework Review 2019?

As part of the Bushfire Framework Review 2019, there will be:

  • a staged review of the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas
  • development of a new mapping methodology
  • an amendment to the policy and regulatory mechanisms, including State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.

The revised map will incorporate a methodology that recognises the lower risk of bushfire in significantly built up urban areas, and will introduce more nuance and take a more holistic approach to the designation of bushfire prone areas and the extent of the potential impact on communities.

The changes will be made under a three-stage process, with the final stage anticipated to be completed in late 2020.

Stage 1

1a – Revise the map to remove small parcels of isolated vegetation less than four hectares within the Perth Central planning sub-region. The revised Stage 1a map came into effect on Wednesday 31 July 2019.

1b – Revise the current Mapping Standard for Bush Fire Prone Areas to include additional criteria that reflect the lower risk of bushfire in the context of significantly built up urban areas, such as whether the vegetation parcel is managed. The revised stage 1b map came into effect from Saturday 28 September 2019 and replaces the Stage 1a map. 

Stage 2

Revise the map for the rest of the State in collaboration with the CSIRO. The revised map is expected to be completed in late 2020.

Stage 3

Amend as required, the policy and regulatory mechanisms that need to respond to the map produced at Stage 2, including State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas. This is expected to run concurrently with Stage 2 and completed later in 2020.

What does the Bushfire Framework Review 2019 mean for me?

If you are an applicant or decision-maker within the Perth Central planning sub-region, you may be affected by the revised Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas as part of Stage 1b, which came into effect on Saturday 28 September 2019.

You should check if areas designated as bushfire prone in your local government area are still designated as bushfire prone or have been removed. 

The 19 local governments within the Perth Central planning sub-region are:

  • Town of Bassendean
  • City of Bayswater
  • City of Belmont
  • Town of Cambridge
  • City of Canning
  • Town of Claremont
  • Town of Cottesloe
  • Town of East Fremantle
  • City of Fremantle
  • City of Melville
  • Town of Mosman Park
  • City of Nedlands
  • Town of Peppermint Grove
  • City of Perth
  • City of South Perth
  • City of Stirling
  • City of Subiaco
  • Town of Victoria Park
  • City of Vincent

Areas that are no longer designated as bushfire prone will not be captured by State Planning Policy 3.7 or part 10A of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2015.

For owners/applicants whose property is still identified as bushfire prone following the release of the Stage 1b map on Saturday 28 September 2019, the requirements under State Planning Policy 3.7 and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas still apply. 

If you are an applicant or decision-maker not within the Perth Metropolitan Central planning sub-region, you will not be affected by Stage 1 but may be affected by the revised Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas (the Map) as part of Stage 2. The new Stage 2 Map is anticipated to be released later in 2020.

When a planning application is lodged, it will be assessed against the map that is current on the day of the decision. For owners/applicants considering lodging a planning application in a designated bushfire prone area that is not within the Perth Metropolitan Central planning sub-region, requirements under State Planning Policy 3.7 and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas still apply. Consideration can be given to deferring lodgement until release of the Stage 2 map.  

Planning approvals

If you are a landowner/applicant with a development approval on a site that was designated bushfire prone and the designation has been removed, you may be able to amend conditions regarding bushfire in accordance with section 77 of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2015. Please contact your local government for further information.

If you are a landowner/applicant with a subdivision approval that has conditions relating to bushfire, and on a site where the bushfire designation has been removed, contact the relevant area team from the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage for further information.

Local governments that are in the process of reviewing a local planning strategy or scheme should liase with the relevant area team at the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

How will I know when new changes come into effect?

To keep up to date with any changes to the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas or the bushfire policy framework, you can subscribe to the Bushfire Reform subscriber list

Which bushfire policy framework do I use now?

Planning applications in designated bushfire prone areas should be assessed under the existing bushfire policy framework, which includes State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (December 2015), the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (as amended) and the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2015 until a revised policy, as part of Stage 3 of the Bushfire Framework Review 2019, is gazetted.

What is the update on the draft Element 3: Vehicular Access and the draft Position Statement: Tourism land uses in bushfire prone areas?

Version 1.4 of the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas, which includes changes to Element 3: Vehicular Access and other various minor changes, was endorsed by the Western Australian Planning Commission on September 03, 2019 and will be published later in 2019.

The Position Statement: Tourism land uses in bushfire prone areas was endorsed by the Western Australian Planning Commission on September 24, 2019 and is available on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage’s website, along with A Guide to Developing a Bushfire Emergency Evacuation Plan.

The Position Statement: Tourism land uses in bushfire prone area and version 1.4 (when endorsed), can be used to determine planning applications until a revised policy, as part of Stage 3 of the Bushfire Framework Review 2019, is gazetted.

Other questions

If your question is not listed please email one of the following:

Page last reviewed 14 August 2019
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