Blackash was engaged by the Western Australia Department of Planning (DoP) to prepare a bushfire research report and risk based assessment methodology to support the development of the Broader Landscape Risk Assessment methodology for new strategic landuse applications.
On 7 December 2015, the West Australian State Government released a multi-portfolio package of bushfire reforms to address the land use planning recommendations of the Keelty Report released in August 2011 including:
The risk assessment may be used to determine if a rezoning or subdivision application should be allowed to proceed, or if additional risk mitigation measures should be required in certain circumstances to reduce the risk to a reasonable level
The new West Australian State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (SPP 3.7) and the revised Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (Guidelines) and the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2015 (Regulations) provides an integrated and holistic approach to ensure that new development is afforded appropriate protection from bushfires.
The West Australian bushfire framework provides a comprehensive approach to land-use planning in bushfire prone areas.
Blackash was commissioned to undertake a review of the existing West Australian framework and to present a risk based assessment process and simple methodology for new strategic development (i.e. rezoning and large subdivisions).
To develop the methodology three work packages were completed:
A range of scientific papers were reviewed to investigate a risk based approach of the bushfire criteria. A focus of the literature review was to determine criteria if a rezoning or subdivision application should be allowed to proceed, or if additional risk mitigation measures should be required to reduce the risk to a reasonable level.
A review of four other jurisdictions was undertaken to look at good practice and how other States and Territories are addressing strategic level issues in a risk based way.
A desktop review was undertaken into the following jurisdictions:
The risk assessment methodology developed by Blackash identifies the policy intent in Western Australia and the potential consequences of fire on new development.
The methodology may be used to determine if a strategic planning proposal such as a rezoning application should be allowed to proceed, or if additional risk mitigation measures should be required to reduce the risk to a reasonable level.
A significant challenge with the project was to synthesis a highly complex space into a meaningful, risk based and accessible matrix.
Through the investigation, Blackash developed a simple and transparent methodology to assess the risk of strategic planning proposals and subdivision proposal.