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Advocate to realign blanket bushfire exemptions

Advocate to realign blanket bushfire exemptions (clause 52.12 of the Victoria Planning Provisions) in urban areas to reduce unnecessary vegetation clearance.

Lead

Frankston City Council

Working group

City of Whittlesea; City of Casey; City of Manningham; Mornington Peninsula Shire; Cardinia Shire Council; Municipal Association of Victoria; CFA

Context

The Victorian Government introduced the bushfire planning controls known as the 10/30 and 10/50 rule as part of its commitment to implementing all recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The municipality-wide application of the vegetation clearance exemptions of Clause 52.12 Bushfire Protection Exemptions of the Victorian Planning Provisions (formally Clause 52.48) apply in several councils and shires including Frankton, Cardinia, Hume, Hobsons Bay, Casey, Manningham, Mitchell, Melton, Mornington Peninsula and Wyndham.

On the 5th August 2020, Amendment VC176 was approved by the Minister for Planning, amending Clause 52.12 (Bushfire Protection: Exemptions) of the Victoria Planning Provisions to align the 10/30 and fence line vegetation exemptions with the Bushfire Prone Area map across all Victorian councils, making administrative updates and further clarifying the exemptions for dwellings and defendable space under the Bushfire Management Overlay. The result of this amendment is beneficial to several Councils as it reduces the area of land previously impacted by the blanket bushfire exemptions and aligns the exemptions to apply within areas recognised as having a bushfire risk. However, other Councils will now see the introduction of bushfire exemptions when they were previously did not apply e.g. Kingston, Knox and Greater Dandenong.

Next steps

As a result of Amendment VC176, the Project Working Group are considering further opportunities to be gained for Living Melbourne stakeholders from having the working group remain active. This group could become an avenue to discuss the conflicts of urban forest and bushfire management and to extend and expand individual experiences and take them to scale for metropolitan benefit.

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