Skip to main content
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Share:

Many people in NSW have lost their homes or businesses in the recent devastating bushfires across the state.

 

As a result, the NSW Government has made changes to planning rules to make it easier for people to recover and rebuild after the bushfires.

 

Planning changes to assist communities recover from NSW bushfires

The first set of changes will expand the current exemptions policy to ensure that more people impacted by the bushfires are able to clean up and make safe their property without the need for planning approvals. People will also be able to store their belongings on site, for example in shipping containers, while they rebuild.

 

There are also new provisions that will allow people affected by the bushfires to establish temporary accommodation, like caravans, without the need for council approval.

 

The NSW Government has also announced it will waive or refund BASIX Certificate and Planning Reform fees for people needing to repair and rebuild their bushfire-affected homes.

 

The NSW Government has been working in partnership with bushfire-affected councils on the new planning provisions.

 

The Government is continuing to work with councils and state agencies on what else is needed to support the recovery and rebuilding effort. 

 

Recent changes include the following:

 

Fee waiver:

  • From 4 February 2020, the applicable government fees – BASIX Certificate and the Planning Reform Fund fees – will be waived on all development applications related to homes damaged or destroyed in the recent bushfires.
  • Affected property owners can contact the Department to arrange for a BASIX Certificate to be issued free of charge. Councils can refer applicants to the dedicated BASIX bushfire recovery hotline. The contact number is 1300 054 464.

 

Building works to be carried out without council approval:
  • Demolition of bushfire affected buildings
  • Temporary repairs and non-structural permanent repairs
  • Temporary installation of a shipping container for storage purposes for up to two years.

 

Development standards will ensure that the development is low impact. Works will need to comply with the relevant Australian Standards and demolition of a heritage item or in a heritage conservation area will still require a development application to the relevant local council.

 

Appropriate consideration of asbestos removal will also be required.

 

These changes commenced on 31 January 2020.

 

Temporary accommodation options for people affected by bushfires

  • Extended stays in a caravan park or camping ground for up to two years.
  • Installation of a moveable dwelling – such as a caravan – on land for up to two years.

 

Changes have also been made to allow councils to modify conditions for primitive camping grounds.

 

These changes commenced on 5 February 2020.

 

Details of these initiatives and further general guidance on returning to your property, cleaning up and rebuilding your home are provided below.

 

Snowy river landscape. Photo by: DPIE/ Vanessa Allen

Temporary rules for building works

Certain demolition, repair works, and the use of storage containers will be allowed without council approval.

Temporary rules for building works

Certain demolition, repair works, and the use of storage containers will be allowed without council approval.

About the changes
Caravans at Diamond Head Campground, at Crowdy Bay National Park near Taree, NSW.

Temporary accommodation


Changes will assist in the provision of emergency accommodation such as caravans for people affected by bushfires.

Temporary accommodation

Changes will assist in the provision of emergency accommodation such as caravans for people affected by bushfires.

Learn more about these changes
A builder works on a house under construction.

Cleaning up and rebuilding


General guidance on returning to your property through to rebuilding your home.

Cleaning up and rebuilding

General guidance on returning to your property through to rebuilding your home.

Find additional information
Communication tower near Cooma, NSW.

Infrastructure recovery approval

Information about approvals needed to repair and rebuild infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the bushfires.

Infrastructure recovery approval

Information about approvals needed to repair and rebuild infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the bushfires.

More about the approval pathway