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Bushfire planning applications a priority

Tuesday 14 July

Bushfire planning applications are, and will remain, a priority for East Gippsland Shire Council as more residents impacted by the summer’s bushfires look to rebuild.


Council’s General Manager Place and Community Jodie Pitkin said as the clean-up program progresses the volume of planning permit applications, as expected, was increasing.


“To date, our planning team has received 42 bushfire rebuild planning permit applications. Of those 42, 24 have been approved, 1 permit was not required, 3 have been for temporary accommodation, and 14 applications are under assessment,” Ms Pitkin said.


“It’s anticipated that with appropriate planning and provision of accurate information that rebuild applications should be able to be processed inside of 6 weeks.”   


Some applications will be straightforward and others more complex.


“Our commitment is to carefully step through the process with each applicant to ensure applications meet the standards of today,” Ms Pitkin said.


“We understand there can be frustrations as some people navigate the complexities of planning by themselves. That’s where our bushfire planning support service is a valuable resource for anyone considering a rebuild.


“This new service – contact us on 5153 9500 for more information – provides the upfront assistance for people without the need to engage a consultant. The team can assist in ensuring all relevant information is submitted with the application in the first instance, reducing the likelihood for unnecessary delays.”


Ms Pitkin said the Bushfire Rebuild Support Service has received 64 referrals since coming online, of which 35 have been referred to planning advisors, and 29 are still under assessment.


“It won’t be for everybody, but we have received some positive feedback about the service already,” Ms Pitkin said


“This is an optional service and some people will find it more convenient to work with their own architect, builder and planning consultant.


“It is important that people understand that while rebuild permits are exempt from advertising, they are not exempt from referrals to other agencies (such as the CFA, East Gippsland Water, Catchment Management Authority or DELWP) and other planning scheme requirements. This is still a process Council is legislated to work through and can take time. There have also been very few fast-track changes made by the State.


“Since the fires, Council has advocated for timely information and decisions be provided to the community, pressed for the clean-up to get underway and use local sub-contractors, made changes to allow for temporary structures (i.e. shipping containers), and resourced our own planning team (including a duty planner who is on duty to respond to simple initial enquiries) and services.”



Ms Pitkin said families who lost their primary place of residence in the fires and who have registered for temporary housing on Sunday received news the Government has announced its temporary housing program.


“The Government has indicated short-term modular housing will be an option available for households identified as currently being in emergency accommodation or in private accommodation arrangements. They will be able to live in these homes for up to three years while they progress their permanent rebuild.”


A range of bushfire information and support, including rebuild support, is available through the recovery hubs and Council.


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