Families building new homes can save $800 under new arrangements for approvals in bushfire-prone areas, which put safety first while making it easier and cheaper to build, and remove duplication, Minister for Planning Pru Goward and Minister for Emergency Services Stuart Ayres announced today.
Ms Goward and Mr Ayres were joined by Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies at Mulgoa Rise to make the announcement today.
The changes remove the need for local home-builders to do an assessment of bushfire risk when they lodge their DA to build if the Rural Fire Service (RFS) has undertaken an upfront assessment of bushfire risk at the subdivision stage.
Currently, those building homes on bushfire-prone subdivisions have to undertake their own assessment even if the RFS has previously given the subdivision the tick of approval, adding approximately $800 to the cost of building a new home.
The changes will only be allowed if strict conditions are met, including:
The land is not at high risk of bushfire;
- Approval has been given by the RFS which allows building in bushfire-prone areas, known as a Bushfire Safety Authority – this will now include a plan showing the bushfire attack levels and conditions future houses must meet;
- A Post-Subdivision Bushfire Attack Level certificate, which is issued by the RFS or suitably qualified consultant, has been issued; and
- The authority in charge of approving the new home, such as the local council, is satisfied the building complies with any conditions that have been put in place by the RFS
“This is good news for local families who now have the choice of having detailed bushfire assessments completed up front, meaning local home-builders no longer need to worry about lodging an individual bushfire report if strict conditions are met” Tanya Davies said.
Currently bushfire-prone land maps of new release areas are updated every five years by local councils meaning they may not always be accurate.
“We all know the costs of building a new home can add up, and that’s why as a Government we are determined to drive those costs down to save families money, by removing duplication without compromising safety” said Stuart Ayres.
The announced changes will mean the RSF can now directly update these maps when required ensuring their accuracy with the most up-to-date information.
“$800 might not sound like a lot, but ask any family building their new home and they will tell you that at the end of the day even saving a small amount can go a long way” said Tanya Davies.
The Department of Planning and Environment and the NSW Rural Fire Service conducted detailed targeted consultation regarding these changes with the building industry and councils across the Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter regions.
The changes only apply to land in urban release areas in 40 local government areas and will not affect development in existing subdivisions in bushfire prone areas.