If a planning permit is required for an application in the Bushfire Management Overlay, CFA is a referral authority under section 55 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The Responsible Authority (usually Council) refers the application to CFA for comment.
Roles and responsibilities in the application process
- The applicant’s role is to prepare an application that meets the mandatory application requirements (e.g. submission of a Site and Locality Description and a Bushfire Management Statement).
- The Responsible Authority (e.g. Council) is responsible for determining if a permit is required, deciding if all the application requirements have been met (e.g. submission of a Site and Locality Description and a Bushfire Management Statement) and making a decision on the application.
- CFA’s role is to provide advice to the Responsible Authority in relation to the bushfire considerations (i.e. CFA can consent, conditionally consent or object to the application).
CFA can provide pre-application advice on permit applications, however a prospective applicant would need to have prepared a draft Site and Locality Description and a Bushfire Management Statement before meeting with CFA. CFA also prefers that Responsible Authority (Council) is involved in any pre-application discussions, as ultimately CFA provides advice to the Responsible Authority.
How does CFA consider applications and provide advice to Council?
CFA’s referral advice to Responsible Authorities is based on the relevant planning scheme provisions.
CFA may also be asked to provide advice under section 52 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. For example, a large subdivision of land not affected by the Bushfire Management Overlay, but that is in close proximity to an identified bushfire hazard.
Advice provided in this manner is not binding on the Responsible Authority. However CFA can still provide advice on the bushfire hazard and appropriate bushfire protection measures. In these circumstances CFA may still recommend that permit conditions be included or that the application should be refused.