Policy on building homes to cut bushfire risks

The State Government recently announced that planning schemes would include mandatory provisions for building homes from May next year through the ‘Planning for Bushfire Risk Management’ policy.

‘If land intended for development is located on a bushfire map or close to a large area of bushland, a bushfire hazard assessment will be required,’ said Planning Minister John Day.

The assessment would identify risk level and which Australian Standards should apply, such as placing ember screens over evaporative airconditioner units, window screens or other building methods.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said land would be identified as bushfire-prone or not through uniform State-wide maps which would be publicly available.

The WA Planning Commission has released the State planning policy for public comment until July 4.

The policy said bushfire risk in WA was increasing due to hotter and drier weather conditions, demand for rural living and expansion of the urban-rural interface, and fuel loads increasing at a greater rate.

‘These factors are seeing an increasing number of people living in, or proximate to, bushfire-prone areas,’ it said.

‘New development should provide the highest achievable level of protection from bushfire.’

For more information, visit www.planning.wa.gov.au/bushfire or www.areyouready.wa.gov.au.