Volume 24 Issue 1, 2009

A fresh approach to development assessment in Bushfire Protection Areas

Meryl Sherrah

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


In late 2006 and 2007, changes were made to the planning and building requirements for new dwellings to be built in certain identified bushfire risk areas of South Australia. The changes affected 39 councils located throughout SA, including Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, the South-East, the Riverland, Murray Bridge, mid-North, Mt Lofty Ranges and parts of the metropolitan Adelaide region. Under the changes, parts of these councils have now been designated as Bushfire Protection Areas. Each of these Areas has been thoroughly assessed and categorised into one of three bushfire risk levels – high bushfire risk, medium bushfire risk or general bushfire risk. There are also areas which are ‘excluded’. Different planning and building requirements now apply depending on the designated level of bushfire risk. The Department of Planning and Local Government has prepared an online search tool to assist people in identifying whether a particular property in the 39 councils is in a Bushfire Protection Area and the property’s assigned bushfire risk. A web mapping application to assist in development assessment in Bushfire Protection Areas has also been produced for Country Fire Service and council staff involved in development assessment. The development of the online search tool and the web mapping application was funded under the Natural Disaster Mitigation Programme and has received Australian and State Government financial support.