New guidelines come with risks

There is discussion from the City of Wanneroo on bushfire risk management.
There is discussion from the City of Wanneroo on bushfire risk management.

A BUSHFIRE risk management policy could bring more risks for local governments, according to the City of Wanneroo.

The council recently endorsed the City’s submission on the State Government’s proposed changes to planning, highlighting concerns about the Planning for Bushfire Protection guidelines.

The City’s planning and sustainability director Len Kosova said the policy would set out bushfire-prone areas, but mapping standards still had to be defined.

Mr Kosova said it was a sensible risk management approach, although the City of Wanneroo would have to carry out a substantial level of assessment.

‘That bushfire-prone mapping will lead to hazard level assessment for areas deemed bushfire-prone across the State,’ he said.

‘We also will need to keep the office of bushfire risk management informed of any changes (to the risk level).

‘What if a bushfire event were to occur in an area that we didn’t identify as a bushfire- prone area?’

Mr Kosova said local government could be exposed to legal action if that happened or it did not reduce the risk level.

He said there could also be compensation issues if a property owner was not permitted to develop land in a bushfire-prone area.

Responding to a question by councillor Bob Smithson, Mr Kosova said it was not intended to apply retrospectively.