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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Amendments to the Local Government (Manufactured Homes Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2005 will assist in the provision of emergency accommodation for persons affected by bushfires.

Extended stays in caravan parks or camping grounds

  • People who are unable to return to their homes as a result of a bushfire will be able to stay in a moveable dwelling, such as a caravan, in a caravan park or camping ground for an extended period of up to two years without the need for council approval.

Example: Michael, the manager of a caravan park, can decide to make some caravan spots available to people who have lost their homes in the fire and need somewhere to stay. If Michael is reasonably satisfied that a person is displaced because of a bushfire, he can allow them to install their caravan in his caravan park and stay for up to two years.

Installation of a movable dwelling

  • People whose homes have been badly damaged in a bushfire can install a moveable dwelling, such as a caravan, on land without council approval for up to two years.
  • If a person wishes to stay in the moveable dwelling beyond two years, council approval will be needed.
  • A movable dwelling is defined under the Local Government Act and can include a tent, caravan or van used for human habitation. It can also include a manufactured home, which is a self-contained dwelling that is designed to be moved from one position to another.

Example: Peter and Sue are unable to live in their home after it was significantly damaged in a bushfire. Peter and Sue can install and stay in a moveable dwelling, such as a caravan, on their own or their neighbour’s land (provided the neighbour has given consent) without council approval for up to two years while they rebuild their own home. If Peter and Sue wish to stay beyond two years, they will need to get council approval.

Councils can modify conditions for camping grounds

  • Many councils have designated large public spaces – such as showgrounds – as primitive camping grounds for the purposes of emergency evacuation centres during the ongoing bushfire emergency.
  • The amendments give councils the flexibility to modify conditions to which a primitive camping ground is subject, provided the council is satisfied it is necessary for the purposes of accommodating people who have lost their homes in the bushfires. Such conditions relate to spacing, maximum number of caravans, campervans and tents and length of stay.

Example: If a council designates a showground as a primitive camping ground for the purposes of an emergency evacuation centre during the ongoing bushfire emergency, council has the flexibility to modify the normal conditions for a primitive camping ground – for example, they may allow caravans to be installed in the showground for a period longer than 50 days.

Further information

The Bushfire Housing Assistance Service provides help with:

  • Emergency temporary accommodation
  • A private rental bond and advance rent costs
  • Sourcing accommodation options from the private rental and short-term housing sector
  • Sourcing accommodation options in your local communities or areas where you have family or local networks.


You can access the service by calling the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444, or visit the local Department of Communities and Justice Housing office website and enter your postcode, suburb or town in the search bar. Your nearest housing office will display.


The NSW Disaster Recovery Facebook page contains updates and important information for communities in recovery.

Page last updated: 29/04/2021