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Bushfire planning and recovery

Rebuilding after bushfires

Council is committed to assisting our community in its recovery, every step of the way.

This page has information about planning and building, the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service, helpful links and fact sheets.


The planning permit application process for a bushfire affected property is different to a standard application.

See more information on planning exemptions.


The objective of the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service is to provide specialised advice to help streamline both any planning application requirements and your overall rebuild.


The Bushfire Rebuild Support Service has already helped many people begin their rebuild process.


Click the map below to view the most recent data about overall progress on planning approvals


 Bushfire Rebuild Support Map Data


Latest Rebuild Support Data Graph


You can register for the service by completing this form.



What's on this page


How the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service works

Preparing to rebuild

Temporary storage and accommodation
Planning general information
Planning application process
Planning application requirements
Complying with planning permit conditions

Septic tanks

Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program
Building permits
Frequently Asked Questions
Bushfire Recovery Victoria Rebuild Fact Sheets
Helpful links


How the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service works

Once Council receives your referral form, any current case notes for your property will be updated and you will be referred to the Rebuild Support team.


The Rebuild Support team will be your single point of contact for all Council-related rebuild and planning enquiries.


The Rebuild Support team will arrange an appointment to discuss what stage you are at with your rebuild and to request any relevant planning and rebuild information that you wish to submit.


A second appointment will follow after the Rebuild Support team has completed a review of your property details. This review will assist in the provision of any additional supporting expertise that may be required (planning, building and environmental health) and develop a plan with you to progress your rebuild.


From there, your progress will depend on your property, planning and rebuild requirements. The Rebuild Support team will be there to guide and help you every step of the way before the submission of your planning permit application to our planning officers. 


See our Frequently Asked Questions sheet to help with other questions you may have. 

Preparing to rebuild

There are many ways to improve the protection of your home from bushfires. The Victorian Building Authority recommends the following precautions to help protect your home:

  • Seal gaps with joining strips, silicon weather strips, draught excluders on side-hung doors.
  • Seal vents and weep holes in external walls with corrosion resistant steel, bronze or aluminium mesh.
  • Seal around roofing and roof penetrations.
  • If an evaporative cooler is installed, protect it with a mesh screen.
  • Clear leaves from gutters and considering installing an appropriate leaf-guard product.
  • Check that your gutters are in good condition and will hold water if you block the downpipes.
  • Enclose the subfloor of your home with a non-combustible material.
  • Install shutters or metal flyscreens to doors and windows.
  • Remove any overhanging tree branches, take out shrubs over one metre high next to or below windows, keep grass short and clean up other debris near your home that could easily catch fire.

It is also important to make sure your property is accessible for emergency vehicles and has a water supply for firefighting. If you have a rainwater tank near your home, ensure it is accessible.


The Country Fire Authority (CFA) also has a list of recommendations on how to maintain around your home to keep it safe.

These can be found at https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/how-to-prepare-your-property

Temporary storage and accommodation

Council has adopted an interim policy to provide some leniency to those who are needing to make temporary storage or accommodation arrangements to rebuild and recover from the bushfires.


This interim policy provides guidelines and support for temporary storage and accommodation, including the use of shipping containers for storage. Ordinarily both a shipping container or other shed without a dwelling in a residential zone is prohibited under the planning scheme and the General Local Law provides for use of shipping containers only in limited circumstances.


With this interim policy, bushfire affected landholders may be able to arrange for temporary storage and or accommodation with some planning and building permit exemptions for a maximum of 3 years, or until a permanent structure is built.


Find out more in the below fact sheets. 

Temporary storage and accommodation fact sheet

Emergency accommodation fact sheet

Planning general information

Planning is a way to ensure that economic, social and environmental matters and impacts are considered and managed as places change, and to ensure that a range of risks are managed.


A planning application may have to address many different matters. Some matters that might be relevant to a planning permit application include:

•           Bushfire hazard

•           Flood hazard

•           Climate change

•           Erosion hazard

•           The amenity of an area

•           Social impacts

•           Vegetation removal

•           Heritage

•           Infrastructure


You can find out what zones and overlays apply to your land by getting a Planning Property Report at VicPlan


If you register for the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service, your Rebuild Support team can assist with this information.

The Rebuild Support team can advise if a planning permit is needed and if so, what your application needs to include and assist in the preparation of your submission to Council.


You can also seek professional advice or prepare the application yourself using our application checklists as a guide. To ensure that your application can be processed quickly you need to include all the relevant information. 

Planning application process

Once your planning application has been prepared (either by yourself or with the help from the Rebuild Support team) the application is lodged with Council’s Land Use Planning team.


Your application may be referred to other internal departments for assessment as required (municipal building surveyor, environmental health, and technical engineer), or to external agencies for assessment. These include the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, CFA and East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, or others as required by the Planning Scheme.


The Rebuild Support team will work with you through this process.


Once all referrals are complete and the land use planner is satisfied that all information is provided, a determination can be made.


There may be situations where the state policy to protect life and property above all else may prevent reconstruction. The land use planners will work with the Rebuild Support Service to identify these cases early, so we can discuss potential options and outcomes with you. 

Planning application requirements

A planning permit application must include:

  • A completed Planning Permit Application Form 

  • A Certificate of Title including all details for the subject land. You can get this from the Titles Office or phone (03) 9194 0605 or the Rebuild Support team can assist in the acquisition of this on your behalf.

  • Preferably one digital copy of the site and floor plans and all elevations of the proposed development. All plans must be drawn to scale with dimensions to a professional standard. If not to the appropriate standard, there may be a requirement to provide new plans that meet the standard.

  • Any other information required by the planning scheme: bushfire reports, geotechnical risk assessment (erosion), land capability assessments (septic), vegetation removal.

If your property is located in a Bushfire Management Overlay a Bushfire Management Statement and a Bushfire Management Plan will need to accompany your planning permit application.

You can create a Bushfire Management Statement and a Bushfire Management Plan yourself with the templates available on the Planning Victoria web page, or you can engage a private planning consultant to assist you, or register for the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service. 


If you need help with preparing any of the above, consider registering for the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service by completing this form.

Complying with planning permit conditions 

When a planning permit is issued, it usually comes with conditions that you must comply with in order to act on the permit and commence construction.


Conditions that may apply:

  • Compliance with an approved bushfire management plan as an ongoing requirement (including maintaining defendable space, constructing to the appropriate Bushfire Attack Level (BAL), providing an effective water supply for firefighting purposes and access standards).

  • A requirement to build in accordance with the endorsed plans and a time to start and finish the development.

  • Requirements to connect the development to council drains or create a private drain system, stabilise the development site to prevent offsite impacts, repair damage to Council infrastructure from the building process, or construction or maintenance of a driveway crossover to the road.

Septic tanks

Your dwelling must be connected to a reticulated sewerage system or if that is not available, your wastewater must be treated and retained on-site in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1970 (a septic tank system).

Septic tank enquiries will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.


If you have any enquiries, consider registering for Bushfire Rebuild Support Service by completing this form, or contact Council’s Environmental Health team on 03 5153 9500.


Get copies of your septic tank plans

Get a permit to install or alter a septic tank system

Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program

The Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program (the Program) will support households that have lost or significantly damaged rainwater and/or septic tanks on their primary place of residence as a result of the Eastern Victorian Fires occurred from 21 November 2019.


The Program will be open from mid-August 2020 and close on 31 May 2023. Support under the program will be available for any work completed since the commencement of the bushfires on 21 November 2019. It will remain open to May 2023 to allow time for people to rebuild.


Melbourne Water will administer the Program on behalf of the Victorian Government, as represented by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Bushfire Recovery Victoria. 


To find out more about the Program take a look at the following link and fact sheets.




RSTR Program Overview

RSTR Program FAQs

RSTR Program Guidelines

RSTR Accredited Plumber Fact Sheet

RSTR Relevant Links Fact Sheet

Building permits

Almost all building works require a Building Permit. You may also need a Planning Permit - see Do I need a Planning Permit? for more information. Council does not issue Building Permits; these are issued through Private Building Surveyors.


If you are not sure if your project requires a Permit, contact Council’s building department or a private building surveyor. Some private building surveyors have offered their services at a reduced or no cost for bushfire affected properties. See the register of firms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service cost?

The Bushfire Rebuild Support Service is a free service for all bushfire affected East Gippsland residents looking to rebuild on their property. Additionally, Council will waive all Council-related fees relating to the processes of your rebuild.


I’m not sure where my property boundaries are anymore, how can I find out?

Property boundary surveying isn’t a service provided by Council. You can arrange this yourself or with the assistance of the Rebuild Support team.


Find out more at www.propertyandlandtitles.vic.gov.au and find a surveyor at www.surveyorsboard.vic.gov.au


What is a BAL (Bushfire Attack Level)?

A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) is a way of measuring the severity of a building's potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact.


There are six Bushfire Attack Levels that form part of the Australian Standard for construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas (AS 3959-2018):

BAL-LOW, BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL-FZ (Flame Zone).

You can read more at www.planning.vic.gov.au


See also our Bushfire Rebuild Support Service FAQ sheet

Bushfire Recovery Victoria Rebuild Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet - Bushfire Hazard Assessment

Fact Sheet - Bushfire Planning and Building Controls

Fact Sheet - Geotechnical assessments

Fact Sheet - Land Capability Assessment

Fact Sheet - Land surveying updated

Fact Sheet - Lodging a planning permit application

Fact Sheet - Native Vegetation Management

Fact Sheet - Planning and building permits

Helpful links

Obtain a copy of your certificate of title and other land documents at www.landata.vic.gov.au

Find Council forms including planning permit and septic tank applications - Find_a_Form

Read some helpful planning guides and links - Planning_Guides_and_Links

Find information about wastewater and septic tanks - www.epa.vic.gov.au




























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