Improving Bushfire Planning Provisions

The Victoria Planning Provisions (VPPs) play a critical role in managing bushfire hazards to help protect our community from bushfires. However, Council is concerned that these controls might be resulting in unnecessary vegetation loss that can harm the Mornington Peninsula’s natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Council is advocating to the State Government to improve these controls, so they strike a better balance between improving bushfire resilience and protecting biodiversity.

How do the current bushfire controls work?

State Government bushfire planning controls allow landowners to remove vegetation from their property – including native vegetation – without the need for a planning permit on land that is declared a Bushfire Prone Area (BPA).

That is, landowners in BPA areas can use the ‘10/30 rule’ to clear any vegetation within 10 metres of an existing building on their property, or any vegetation other than trees within 30 metres of an existing building, without needing a planning permit. They can also clear vegetation along fence lines without a planning permit. These exemptions only apply to buildings used for accommodation and fences that were constructed before 10 September 2009, and are designed to help residents make their properties safer in the event of a bushfire.

The exemptions are State Government controls within the VPPs and only the Victorian Minister for Planning has the power to change them and where they apply.

You can find out more about these vegetation removal exemptions on the State Government’s Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) website: DTP - Vegetation removal for bushfire protection.

 

What is Council doing about this? 

At its meeting on Tuesday, 19 December 2023, Council decided to advocate to the Victorian Minister for Planning to work with the Shire to explore possible improvements to existing bushfire planning controls, using Mornington Peninsula Shire as a pilot test case.

Specifically, Council has asked the Minister to create a taskforce to consider changes to Clause 52.12 (Bushfire Protection Exemptions) of the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme that would stop landowners from clearing vegetation on their property using the ‘10/30 rule’ in areas of the Peninsula that have low- to no bushfire risk or to simply gain a development advantage.

Download a copy of our letter to the Minister for Planning.(PDF, 308KB)

Council has also requested that the State Government review the accuracy of BPA and Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) mapping in southern parts of the Peninsula (specifically Sorrento and Portsea) as per recommendations from Council’s adopted Shire-wide Strategic Planning Bushfire Assessment – May 2023(PDF, 4MB).Council has requested this mapping review to ensure vegetation removal exemptions aren’t being applied in areas they shouldn’t.

How can I help?

If you support Council’s push to improve State Government bushfire planning controls to help protect our environment, please ensure your voice is heard by contacting the Victorian Minister for Planning as well as your local State Members of Parliament on the below details:

If you’re also concerned about the accuracy of BPA or BMO mapping for properties in your area, you can request a review by visiting the State Government’s website at: planning.vic.gov.au/guides-and-resources/guides/all-guides/bushfire-map-reviews.

The Mornington Peninsula Shire-wide Strategic Planning Bushfire Assessment

At its meeting on Tuesday, 19 December 2023, Council adopted the Mornington Peninsula Shire-wide Strategic Planning Bushfire Assessment (May, 2023)(PDF, 4MB). The assessment analyses the level of bushfire risk for different areas across the Mornington Peninsula and categorises this risk according to different landscape types. The landscape types are categorised and mapped from 1 to 4 (see table and plan below)

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(SPBA - Figure 1b: Overview of landscape types)

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(SPBA – Figure 9: Landscape type locations – Mornington Peninsula Shire)

Submission to State Government Bushfire Planning Discussion Paper

In March 2022, Council resolved to provide a submission to the ‘Bushfire Planning Made Clearer: Options for Victoria's Planning System' Discussion Paper.

This Discussion Paper was prepared by the State Government and it sought feedback on a number of bushfire planning matters, including the bushfire protection exemptions within the Planning Scheme.

Further details of the Discussion Paper and Council’s submission can be found via the link below:

Submissions to the State Government 

 

Further information

For any questions or feedback, you can contact the Shire’s Strategic Planning Team on 5950 1003 or via email strategic.admin@mornpen.vic.gov.au.