The NSW Government has updated bushfire planning regulations to reduce red tape with bushfire assessments and speed up approvals for housing developments, whilst ensuring safety remains the number one priority. The changes apply only to new urban release areas in 40 NSW local government areas and do not apply to existing developments in bushfire prone areas.
Planning for Bush Fire Protection (PBP) 2006 provides the framework for development located on bush fire prone land in NSW.
All development on bush fire prone land must meet the requirements of PBP 2006, unless the consent authority has consulted with the NSW Rural Fire Service. A bush fire safety authority, under section 100B of the Rural Fires Act 1997, must be obtained from the NSW Rural Fire Service for subdivision and special fire protection developments on bush fire prone land.
Councils must consult the NSW Rural Fire Service when preparing draft local environmental plans for land identified as being bush fire prone.
The NSW Rural Fire Service has conducted a review of the current PBP 2006 and is working to finalise the new edition of PBP. The publication and adoption of the new edition of PBP has been delayed until later in 2019.
Until the new edition of PBP is finalised and adopted through the relevant legislation, PBP 2006 remains the law for development on bush fire prone land in NSW.
A draft version of PBP, known as the ‘pre-release version’ was issued in 2018 by the NSW Rural Fire Service. At the time, a transition period was put in place that allowed the pre-release version of PBP to be used in place of PBP 2006 in certain circumstances. The NSW Rural Fire Service has extended this transition period until PBP 2019 is finalised and adopted in legislation.
Where it is proposed to use the pre-release version of PBP, this must be undertaken as a Performance Solution in consultation with the NSW Rural Fire Service under section 4.14(1A) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
For further information about the pre-release version of PBP and when it can be applied, please refer to the NSW RFS website.
The Department is also updating the relevant Regulations, State Environmental Planning Policies, a Regional Environmental Plan and Local Environmental Plans that reference PBP.
The proposed amendments will replace references to the existing PBP or associated publications with a reference to the new edition of PBP or the relevant publication. Additional amendments are also proposed in some cases to ensure that the relevant provisions are consistent with the new edition of PBP.
The proposed amendments were subject to public exhibition and an Explanation of Intended Effect and the submission period is now closed.
The 2019 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) came into effect on 1 May 2019. The NCC consists of the Building Code of Australia, Volume One and Volume Two, and the Plumbing Code of Australia, Volume Three.
To ensure consistency in relation to building standards on bush fire prone land, an amendment has been made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Savings, Transitional and Other Provisions) Regulation 2017. This amendment supports the ongoing operation of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006.
The transitional amendment will continue to apply Australian Standard 3959 – 2009 for the purpose of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Regulation) until Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2019 is adopted later this year.
The NCC 2019 adopted the new standard, AS 3959-2018. However, when applying the NCC under the EP&A Regulation, the 2009 version of AS 3959 continues to apply in relation to NSW G5.2(a) of Volume One and NSW 126.96.36.199(c) of Volume Two of the NCC.
The amendment will allow a person to obtain a complying development certificate or a construction certificate for building work that complies with AS 3959-2009 and any other requirements under the EP&A Regulation.
As Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2019 has not yet been finalised and adopted in legislation, Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 continues to remain in force. Further information will be provided when Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2019 has been finalised and adopted.
More information about the Rural Fire Service's Planning for Bush Fire Protection
More information about the Building Code of Australia
Buildings less than 20 metres from boundaries outlined in the SEPP 14 – Coastal Wetland may be exposed to a potential fire hazard and so hazard reduction activities may be imposed to protect life and property. The Standards for Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Works in SEPP 14 - Coastal Wetlands (the Standard) has been developed to ensure that any bush fire hazard reduction will have minimal impact on the environment.
Following the repeal of SEPP 14 in 2018, coastal wetlands are now identified by State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018 (CM SEPP). Accordingly, an update to the Standard is underway.
Until this update has been completed, the Standard continues to apply when undertaking critical bush fire hazard reduction works in coastal wetlands. However, councils, government agencies and landowners undertaking these works should refer to coastal wetland boundaries as shown on revised mapping prepared in support of the CM SEPP. For the purpose of the Standard, ‘coastal wetlands’ does not include the area mapped as ‘Proximity Area for Coastal Wetlands’.
Detailed interactive maps can be accessed via DPE’s webmap viewer.
Page last updated: 28/06/2019