Queensland – Bushfire Resilient Communities

The Queensland Government’s bushfire planning strategies have evolved into well structured legislative processes. These processes are underpinned by the adoption of the Bushfire Resilient Communities Technical guide for the State Planning Policy document as published by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFRS), with the application of the Technical Guide tied to a properties location being within a Designated Bushfire Prone Area (BPA).

The QFRS in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have implemented a new methodology for state-wide mapping of bushfire prone areas in Queensland. The process involves a new science-based methodology for State-wide mapping of BPA and replaces the methodology for mapping bushfire hazard in State Planning Policy 1/03: Mitigating the adverse impacts of flooding, bushfires and landslides. This new methodology has been used to produce new State-wide Bushfire Prone Area maps for use by local governments to inform the preparation of Planning Schemes. 

In Queensland, if a site is located within a BPA it must comply with the prescribed Bushfire Hazard Overlay Code relevant to the applicable Regional Planning Scheme. Consideration is placed on the bushfire merits of a site and in accordance with the intent and performance outcomes nominated for the Assessment Benchmarks as provided in the Regional Planning Schemes. 

Blackash have been working closely with Queensland Town Planners in providing detailed Bushfire Hazard Assessments and Bushfire Management Plans using the prescribed processes contained in the Bushfire Resilient Communities Technical guide for the State Planning Policy, that utilise performance-based solutions and justification against the Bushfire Hazard Overlay Code’s Performance Outcomes, to balance bushfire risk with development potential of a site. 

Blackash will continue to work with the Queensland community to ensure that the risk to life, property, and the environment, as a result of bushfire, is mitigated to an acceptable or tolerable level and to ensure that development avoids or mitigates the potential adverse impacts of bushfire on people, property, economic activity and the environment – which is the core purpose of the Queensland’s Bushfire Hazard Overlay Code.

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About the Author
Lew Short is a recognised expert in bushfire and emergency management, land-use planning, risk mitigation, consequence management, environment and the working of government.