The Red Tape Commissioner

Bushfire management overlay reform: reviewing planning permit and referral triggers for simple applications

Red tape issue

In the case of simple planning permit applications associated with minor buildings and works for the construction of an outbuilding (such as a shed or garage) the requirement for referral to the relevant fire authority imposes unnecessary delays and uncertainty for the applicant.

The bushfire planning controls determine both when a permit is required and when an application must be referred to a relevant authority (for example a water authority, Country Fire Authority (CFA) etc.). Minor buildings and works for the construction of an outbuilding (including a garage or shed) that is ancillary to a dwelling may require a planning permit and referral to the relevant fire authority. In these (simple application) cases the CFA consistently offers unconditional consent to the proposal or provides a standard set of requirements.

The requirement for referral to the CFA (the relevant fire authority) in these cases leads to unnecessary time and resources being devoted to a task that provides no additional benefit.

The preferred outcome would be to amend the planning scheme ( to allow the community to plan for the construction of non-habitable buildings that have minimal impacts on existing buildings without referral to the CFA).

Current status

In the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP), a planning permit exemption for minor buildings and works for the construction of an outbuilding is already provided for in Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO).

In the VPP, Clause 44.06-1 states that ‘no planning permit is required for:

A building or works ancillary to a dwelling if the following requirements are met:

  • The combined floor area of all buildings ancillary to the dwelling does not exceed 150 square metres.
  • The building or works are located more than 10 metres from any existing building used for Accommodation.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) will work with the CFA and other emergency service agencies to review this suggested policy change over the coming six months prior to further considering any future changes to the planning scheme (if required).

Reviewed 21/05/2018
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