The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) is a planning control applied to land with the potential to be affected by bushfire.
The BMO helps make new homes, our communities, and the environment safer and more resilient by establishing specific planning permit requirements for new land uses and developments.
These requirements ensure that bushfire hazards, such as vegetation, slope and site access, are assessed and bushfire protection measures are implemented to manage risk.
You may use the State Government’s VicPlan mapping tool to check whether your property is located in the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO).
For information on BMO mapping criteria, planning permit requirements and general enquiries, please visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website.
3. What changes have recently occurred to the bushfire planning controls and where can I find more information?
The bushfire planning controls and BMO maps have recently been updated via Amendment VC132 and Amendment GC13. Changes have been made to planning permit triggers, application requirements, exemptions and referrals.
The maps showing where the BMO applies have also been updated and more areas have been included as schedules where preset bushfire protection measures for single dwellings have been applied and a simple permit application process is available.
For additional information on these changes please visit the DELWP website.
The changes to the planning controls occurred via two separate planning scheme amendments. The first to be gazetted was Amendment VC132 on 18 September 2017. A second amendment (Amendment GC13) updating bushfire maps and applying schedules to individual planning schemes was introduced on 3 October 2017.
5. Where can I find more information on the BMO, schedules to the BMO and making a planning permit application?
DELWP has created a BMO webpage specifically for the introduction of the updated BMO mapping and changes to the bushfire controls. The page has detailed information for landowners, including fact sheets, information on mapping criteria, and planning permit requirements.
If there are specific questions that the webpage doesn't answer, please contact your relevant local council.
This website also includes standard templates to assist you in making your application and technical guides that provide more in depth detail on the controls and how to address the relevant planning scheme requirements.
CFA continues to act in its role as a referral authority for most applications in the BMO.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. Referral to CFA is not required for an application that meets the requirements of a schedule to the BMO or where a non-habitable outbuilding meets the requirements of Clause 66.03 of the Victoria Planning Provisions. No other changes have been made to referral triggers.
Schedules have been used where a strategic scale bushfire assessment has been undertaken for certain townships and localities. Using this assessment a set of standard bushfire protection measures have been applied to the area, which if met, allow for a faster and simpler application process.
Using the predetermined bushfire protection measures reduces application requirements and makes obtaining a planning permit application more straightforward.
The bushfire protection measures include:
- A specified Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) to which the new dwelling must be designed and constructed.
- Defendable space requirements including tree canopy separation (clearance around the dwelling).
- The provision of a static water supply for fire fighting.
- Achieving access requirements onto your land and to the static water supply for fire fighting.
Applicants who utilise the schedule will not need to prepare a bushfire management statement, bushfire hazard site assessment or bushfire landscape site assessment. When an application meets the requirements of a schedule, no referral to CFA is required.
The bushfire protection measures must be shown on a Bushfire Management Plan, which is then submitted to council as part of your application.
Information including templates for certain types of applications are available on the DELWP website.
For more complex development applications and subdivision proposals you should consider engaging a bushfire planning consultant to assist you in preparing your application before it is lodged with council. A list of accredited bushfire consultants can be found on the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) website.
Approved planning permits will continue to operate until expiry.
If there is an approved building permit but no planning permit, or you are proposing to extend or amend an existing planning permit, you can view the Transitional Provisions Fact Sheet available on the DELWP website for more information. You can also check with your local councils planning department.
10. What if my site is no longer in the BMO but I have a planning permit that requires me to meet bushfire requirements?
You may make an application to council’s planning department to amend your planning permit to remove a condition/s. Council will contact CFA to check if the fire authority consent to the changes. CFA will typically support the removal of bushfire conditions where the site is not located in the BMO. However the final decision rests with the local Council.
11. What if my site is no longer in the BMO but I have a restriction on my Title (Section 173 Agreement) that states I must meet bushfire requirements?
You may make an application to council’s planning department to have the agreement removed from your Title. CFA will normally be contacted to check if we agree to the agreement being removed.