5 May 2014 — Mandatory provisions for the construction of new homes in bushfire-prone areas will be included in Western Australian planning schemes from May 2015, WA Planning Minister John Day has announced.
The provisions will apply to new homes built in areas designated by the state or local government as bushfire-prone, or if the house is located within 100 metres of bushland one hectare or greater.
“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,” Mr Day said.
“The assessment will identify the bushfire risk level and the Australian Standards to be applied when the new home is constructed. These standards are used in many jurisdictions across Australia and include requirements such as the placement of ember screens over evaporative airconditioner units, window screens and appropriate construction methods.”
Mr Day said the mandatory measures could make a difference to how a home stands up against a bushfire.
State-wide maps of bushfire plans will be developed and available to the community, Emergency Services minister Joe Francis said.
The new provisions were announced as the WA Planning Commission also released the new state planning policy and planning guidelines on bushfire risk management for public comment.
Mr Day said these documents would provide government and developers greater guidance when planning new developments in bushfire-prone areas.
“Through the Australian Standards, State mapping and the new State planning policy and guidelines, this Government is taking a holistic approach to limit the impact of bushfire on our communities,” he said.
The announcements come after Western Australia experienced a particularly bad bushfire season over summer, with 52 homes lost in the Perth Hills area, one death and a damage bill upwards of $13 million.
Public consultation for the State Planning Policy closes on 4 July with comment on the guidelines closing on 1 August.