Fire Management Operations Plan 2014-2017 | City of Casey
Skip to main content

28 October 2014

Fire Management Operations Plan 2014-2017

1.2

Definitions

Biodiversity

Describes the full range of living things and is the variety and number of species or organisms, the genetic variation within a species and the ways in which they interact with each other in communities and ecosystems.

Burn Program

A program that sets out a number of prescribed burns, and schedules these for a designated area over a nominated time, normally looking ahead over one fire season (from the coming spring to the following autumn), but can also look ahead 5 years or more.

Bushfire

A generic term to describe an unplanned fire on public or private land which includes grass fires, forest fires and scrub fires (sometimes called a wildfire).

Bushfire threat

A term used to describe and analyse the danger that a bushfire poses in a particular place, or to specified values. There are four aspects:

  • The risk of a fire starting, and of it becoming uncontrollable;
  • The values (financial, cultural,
  • The extent of damage which could be caused; and
  • The resources, which can be

historical, ecological and community), which will be lost or damaged if a bushfire starts and gets away;

brought to bear on a fire, and their efficiency and effectiveness.

Code Red Day

These are the worst conditions for a

bush or grass fire. Homes are not designed or constructed to withstand fires in these conditions. The safest place to be is away from high risk bushfire areas. Avoid forested areas,

 

thick bush or long, dry grass.

Elevated or Aerial Fuel

Combustible materials erect or suspended above the ground surface

Fine Fuel

The fuel that burns to produce the flame

front. This fuel is defined to be less than 6mm in thickness and is typically dead leaves, twigs and grasses.

Fire behaviour

The manner in which a fire reacts to variations in fuel, weather and topography. Common measures are rate of spread, flame height and intensity

Firebreak

A narrow strip or area upon which

flammable fine fuel is almost eliminated. It may be a natural break or be maintained mechanically or chemically. Its purpose is to isolate, slow or stop the spread of a ground fire, or to provide a control line from which a fire can be attacked.

Fire management

All uses of fire taken or planned to:

  • Provide protection of life, property, land and assets from bushfire, and
  • Meet other goals of land management or natural resource

management.

Fire prevention

Activities undertaken to minimise the

incidence of bushfires.

Fire suppression

All work and activities directed at extinguishing a bush, grass, structure or chemical fire.

Fuel

Combustible material.

Fuel arrangement

A general term referring to spatial distribution and orientation of fuel particles in a fuel bed. Fuels may be arranged in a vertical sense – “elevated fuels” or may be arranged on the ground

– “ground fuels”.

Fuel load = fuel quantity

The oven dry weight of fine fuel (<6mm in diameter thickness) per unit area – commonly expressed as tonnes per hectare.

Fuel management

Manipulation of the distribution and composition of combustible material by various means including mechanical, chemical, biological and by fire.

 

Fuel reduction burning

The planned use of fire to reduce the quantity and arrangement of fine fuels in a specified area. The fire is designed to achieve its objective with specified flame height, rate of spread and intensity.

Fuel type

An identifiable association of fuel elements (e.g. vegetation height, density and species) that features a distinctive type of fire behaviour under specified weather conditions. Examples of common fuel types are grassland, heathland, dry open forest, tall open forest.

Ground fuels

Combustible material lying on the ground surface (e.g. peat and humus accumulating at ground level) and may include fine fuels (defined above).

Hazard tree

According to the Electrical Safety Act 1998 (Vic), a hazard tree is a tree which ‘is likely to fall onto, or come into contact with, an electric line’. This is further clarified in the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2010 that a responsible person may cut or remove such tree ‘provided that the tree has been assessed by a suitably qualified

arborist; and that assessment confirms

the likelihood of contact with an electric line having regard to foreseeable local conditions’

Neighborhood Safer Places – Place of last Resort

NSPs are buildings or spaces within the community that may afford some protection from radiant heat, the biggest killer during bushfire. They are a place of last resort in emergencies only. NSPs are not community fire refuges or emergency relief centres. NSPs are intended to be used by persons whose primary bushfire plans have failed. NSPs are places of relative safety only. They do not guarantee the survival of those who assemble there

Prescribed burning

Planned use of fire to achieve specific

land management or natural resource management objectives

Rehabilitation Plan

A post-Fire Management Plan developed

to ensure the impact of fire and any

subsequent suppression operations is minimised. It may include activities to reduce soil erosion and promote revegetation on bared areas.

Slashing Mowing to reduce fuel loads resulting in disruption to the vertical arrangement of fuels. In this plan the term is used to describe activities undertaken on an infrequent basis for fire hazard reduction.

Scope

In developing the City of Casey’s Fire Management Operations Plan (the Plan), consideration has been given to the principles associated with strategic development, building, emergency and land management, and the environment.

The Plan outlines Council’s strategic intent to continually improve and integrate fire management methodologies and practises into its operational service delivery components. It will provide strategic direction across Council Departments on planning and policy development, the delivery of services and programs, and will be a reference to inform resourcing.

A number of actions identified within this Plan are documented as part of other organisational plans and strategies. Where this is the case, the Plan provides a reference link to the source document, and a brief synopsis of the action(s) being identified.

Context

There are a number of significant legislation, practices, policies and other guiding documents that relate to fire management within the City of Casey.

4.1 External Documents Influencing this Document

There are a number of significant legislation, practices, policies and other guiding documents that relate to fire management within the City of Casey. A list of these documents is contained below, and should be directly referred to for further information. Of primary relevance to fire management within the municipality are the Local Government Act 1989, and the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (CFA Act).

4.1.2 Country Fire Authority Act 1958

The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 has been developed for the management and regulation of fire on private land within Victoria.

There are key requirements identified within the CFA Act and Regulations which relate to municipal councils including:

  • Section 36 - Authority may require certain municipalities to provide hydrants in streets;
  • Section 41 - Fire Prevention notices;
  • Section 41A - Service of notices;
  • Section 41B - Objection to notices;
  • Section 41C - Appeal against notices;
  • Section 41D - Compliance with notices;
  • Section 41E - Fire prevention infringement notices;
  • Section 42 - Brigades may carry out fire prevention work;
  • Section 43 - Duties and powers of councils and public authorities in relation to fire;
  • Section 45 - Power to Governor in Council to transfer municipal officers’ powers;
  • Section 46 - Failure by public authority etc. to observe provisions of this Act;
  • Section 50F - Municipal Council Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan;
  • Section 50G Municipal councils to identify and designate neighbourhood safer places;
  • Section 50H - Appropriate signage for designated neighbourhood safer places;
  • Section 50I - Maintenance of designated neighbourhood safer places;
  • Section 50J - Annual assessment of designated neighbourhood safer places;
  • Section 50K - Municipal fire prevention officer to provide up to date list of designated places to Authority;
  • Section 50M - Application of Part XII of Wrongs Act 1958;
  • Section 50N - Liability relating to designated Neighbourhood Safer Places;
  • Section 50O - Policy defence;
  • Section 54 - Appointment of municipal fire prevention committees;
  • Section 55 - Functions of committee;
  • Section 55A - Municipal fire prevention plans;
  • Section 55B - Audit of municipal fire prevention plan; and
  • Section 109C - Application of penalties.

4.1.3 Local Government Act 1989

The Local Government Act 1989 details the purpose and responsibilities of local government. Whilst there are no specific provisions relating to fire within the Act, provision is made to allow local government to establish and enforce local laws.

4.1.4 Emergency Management Act 1986

The objectives of the Emergency Management Act 1986 are to ensure the following aspects of Emergency Management are undertaken in Victoria, which facilitates planning, preparedness, operational coordination and community participation including:

  • Prevention;
  • Response; and
  • Recovery.

4.1.5 Electricity Safety Act 1998

The purpose of this Act is to make further provision relating to:

  • The safety of electricity supply and use; and
  • The reliability and security of electricity supply; and
  • The efficiency of electrical equipment.

In relation to Council, the following areas are influenced by the Electricity Safety Act 1998:

  • Electrical line clearances in relation to declared areas allocated to Council; and
  • Hazardous Tree Identification and Notification procedures. Information relating to these processes is contained within this plan.

4.2 Internal Documents Influencing this Plan

4.2.1 Council Plan

This Council Plan outlines the way the City of Casey will work towards achieving Council’s Vision for the future – “To be the city of choice to live, work and raise a family”, during the period 2013-2017, and includes the five key directions:

  1. Services for Casey’s Community;
  2. Developing Casey’s Economy;
  3. Planning for Casey’s Community;
  4. Building and Managing Casey’s Assets; and
  5. Achieving Best Practice in Governance at Casey.

Also forming part of the Council Plan is the Strategic Resource Plan.

The following sections within the Council Plan relate to the purpose of the FMOP:

1.1 Foster community partnership and support other agencies in the delivery of high quality local services;

1.2 Promote a safer community through education and regulation;

3.4 Develop awareness and encourage involvement of the community in the preservation and
improvement of the natural environment and local heritage sites

3.5 Work in partnership with other agencies to manage catchments and enhance waterways and the
coastline.

5.3 Strengthen relationships with other government agencies to maximise service and infrastructure
opportunities and deliver joint initiatives; and

5.4 Advocate for infrastrcuture and services where another level of government has responsibility, such as
road and transport issues.

4.2.2 Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (MPHWP) 2013-2017

The Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (MPHWP) identifies the most significant health and wellbeing issues within the municipality, and outlines future actions to address these priorities over a four year period.

The development of the plan is a requirement of the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. This Act recognises that public health is the responsibility of all levels of government, service providers, and the community.

The following sections within the MPHWP relate to the purpose of the FMOP:

  • 2 – A Safe Community;
  • 4 – A Sustainable Environment; and
  • 7 – Healthy Design.

4.2.3 Community Safety Strategy

The Community Safety Strategy provides context to council’s commitment to a safe community. The document identifies the key safety areas in which Council will work and the way in which the organisation will engage in strengthening capacity and resilience for a safe community.

Key safety direction 4 refers to Fire and Emergency Management and covers:

  • Regulatory control and enforcement; and
  • Emergency response and recovery planning.

4.2.4 Municipal Emergency Management Plan

The City of Casey Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP, MEMPlan or Plan) has been produced pursuant to Section 20(1) of the Emergency Management Act 1986.

This Plan addresses the prevention of, response to and recovery from emergencies within the City of Casey and is the result of the cooperative efforts of the Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee (MEMP Committee) with assistance from the Victoria State Emergency Service Regional Headquarters.

4.2.5 Municipal Emergency Management Operational Arrangements

The Municipal Emergency Management Operational Arrangements (MEMOA) is an internal operating procedure. It is designed for implementation of the MEMP and is updated on a regular basis to ensure that all information is current.

4.2.6 Fire Plugs & Fire Hydrants Policy

The City of Casey’s Fire Plugs and Fire Hydrants Policy has been developed to ensure council owned fire plugs and fire hydrants remain in a clean and usable condition for firefighting purposes.

Council will maintain fire plugs and fire hydrants where they are:

  • Located on nature strips, road reserves
  • Located in or near council parks
  • Located in recreation reserves

4.2.7 Road Management Plan

The object of the Road Management Plan is to clearly define:

  • The road assets the Council maintains on behalf of the community
  • The standards, policies and procedures used to maintain those assets; and
  • The processes used to establish the appropriate standards

4.2.8 Municipal Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan

The Municipal Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan (MNSPP) contains guidelines which have been developed by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) to assist the Council in:

The MNSPP also identifies other matters that should be taken into account in identifying, designating, establishing and maintaining NSPs within the municipality.

4.2.9 Severe, Extreme and Code Red Fire Danger Days Operating Policy

The Severe, Extreme and Code Red Fire Danger Days Operating Policy provides advice to Council staff, contractors and volunteers who need to provide services in areas designated as bushfire-prone or subject to a Bushfire Management Overlay on days of high fire danger.

The Policy allows for a Management Plan and Unit Action Plans to be developed to support the organisation in meeting its obligations in protecting Council staff, contractors and volunteers as per Section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

4.2.10 Bushland Reserve Vegetation Management Plan

The City of Casey has Bushland Vegetation Management Plans for all bushland reserves under the responsibility of Council.

The aim of these plans is to:

  • present information gathered during an analysis of background data and fieldwork; and
  • Document appropriate and effective land management actions to achieve the enhancement and protection of indigenous vegetation and habitat values over a five-year period.

There is a specific clause relating to fire management within the Bushland Reserve Vegetation Management Plans:

“Note that in regards to fire management recommendations, emphasis are given to the enhancement and protection of indigenous vegetation quality, while satisfying requirements under State policy. This is to specifically ensure that fire management works are in-line with long-term fire prevention and mitigation practices required under DSE’s current Code of Practice for Fire Management on Public Land (DSE 2011a) and also consider potential changes in the new Fire Management Operations Plan for the City of Casey 2011 (Casey 2011).”

4.3 Shared Documents

Shared documents are created jointly between Casey and external agencies (e.g. CFA, DEPI, Victoria Police, DTPLI, VicTrack etc).

4.3.1 Integrated Fire Management Planning Process (IFMP)

The key element of Integrated Fire Management Planning (IFMP) is bringing together a range of agencies and organisations in Victoria to discuss, plan and manage fire in the community. These organisations are responsible for fire prevention, preparedness, response and recovery and cultural and environmental uses of fire.

By working together, they will ensure a more strategic and integrated approach to fire management planning, reducing the impact of fire in Victoria.

IFMP has established a consistent, state-wide planning approach and develop processes for continuous improvement.

IFMP involves organisations through the establishment of state, regional and municipal communities, through which members have the opportunity to better understand each other’s roles in fire management planning and bring their individual plans together.

In order to ensure that planning is in line with the community’s needs, IFMP involves extensive community engagement at all stages throughout its development and implementation.

The City of Casey is an active member of the Casey Fire Management Planning Committee, responsible for the development and implementation of the Casey Municipal Fire Management Plan.

4.3.2 Victorian Fire Risk Register

The Victorian Fire Risk Register is an organised program that identifies areas that are at risk from bushfires.

The objective of the VFRR is to:

  • Identify and rate bushfire risk to assets;
  • Identify current mitigation treatments to manage the risk and the responsible agencies for implementing these strategies;
  • Produce an integrated document and risk register across responsible agencies; and
  • Support and inform planning at a local level.

Further information about Casey’s involvement with the VFRR program can be found in section 5.2.2.2 Victorian Fire Risk Register – Bushfire

4.4 Existing Document Relationships

Within Victoria, along with legislation, there are other documents including policies, procedures and plans introduced to assist municipalities including Casey to meet requirements. Also Casey has introduced a range of documents to support and ensure compliance with these requirements. The following Figure 1 shows the interrelation of various identified documents, and whether they are internal or external to the municipality.

Strategy

5.1 Municipal Fire Management Plan Objectives

As a strategic document, the objectives of the FMOP are to:

  • To identify potential impact of bushfire on Casey from adjoining municipalities.
  • To identify internal responsiblities regarding the maitnenance and mangement of the plan.
  • To identify and incorporate accountability processes
  • To take into account specific features of the municipality, including demographics, topography and land use.
  • To provide guidance in managing the responsibilities required under legislation.
  • To incorporate outcomes obtained through consultation with community groups, residents, emergency services and support agencies.
  • To prioritise parks and reserves for fire management works
  • To incorporate and refer to state planning process and controls covered by a range of state departments (emergency management and planning).
  • To incorporate Bushfire-prone Areas (BPA) Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) and utilise this hazard assessment as part of other ubshfire planning processes.

This plan:

  • Clarifies accountability and responsibilities (pertaining to legislation);
  • Identifies the most suitable management practices in relation to the region;
  • Assists in the coordination of Council Departments/supporting agencies/community;
  • Mitigates the risk of fire and protects the municipality;
  • Shows preparedness for coming fire season(s); and
  • Incorporates and links to the Casey Municipal Fire Management Plan.

5.2 Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment

5.2.1 Hazard Identification

5.2.1.1 BPA and BMO Hazard Identification

The hazard identification process has been undertaken by the State Government through the Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI), in consultation with municipal councils, developers and communities.

From this, two types of Hazard Identification have been created being ‘Bushfire Hazard Level 1’ and ‘Bushfire Hazard Level 2’. Whilst these specifically have been developed to assist with Building and Planning statutory requirements, this Hazard Identification can assist with other processes, including areas on which to concentrate for the inclusion / removal of assets within the Victorian Fire Risk Register.

Further information about BPA and BMO can be found in 5.3.1.1 – Planning Controls – Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) and 5.3.1.2 – Building Controls – Bushfire Prone Areas (BPA).

The City of Casey undertake reviews and provide advice to DTPLI around the BPA on a six monthly basis as well as utilising these hazard identification tools as part of other Bushfire Planning.

5.2.1.1 Road Bushfire Risk Assessment Guideline and Risk Mapping Methodology

VicRoads, in conjunction with Terramatrix developed a Road Bushfire Risk Assessment Guideline and Risk Mapping Methodology, to meet specific requirements identified within the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.

Road managers must take into account the implications of the regulatory framework when planning for and undertaking works on road corridors. The most influential legislation in the current regulatory environment includes:

  • Transport Safety Act 2010;
  • Road Management Act 2004;
  • Road Safety Act 1986;
  • Country Fire Authority Act 1958;
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958;
  • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988;
  • Forests Act 1958;
  • Planning and Environment Act 1988;
  • Electricity Safety Act 1998;
  • Summary Offences Act 1966; and
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The CFA Roadside Fire Management Guidelines (CFA, 2001) list fire management objectives agreed by a range of stakeholders. These were supported by the VBRC.

Five objectives are:

  • Prevent fires on roadsides;
  • Contain roadside fires;
  • Manage safety of road users;
  • Provide control lines; and
  • Recovery from roadside fires.

In order to understand the level of risk and vulnerability of assets (including people and property), VicRoads along with CFA have developed a mapping product, referred to as the ‘Terramatrix - Road Bushfire Risk Mapping’ (collection, evaluation and graphical representation) tool. The maps quantify factors that influence the likelihood and consequences of a bushfire starting and spreading from the road network. It does not assess risk in relation to objectives 3 or 4.

The ‘Terramatrix - Road Bushfire Risk Mapping’ assesses the likelihood of an ignition in the road corridor, and the likelihood of fire spread beyond the road reserve. It also assesses the consequence of fire on the road reserve and the consequence of fire spread beyond the road reserve. A range of contributing factors is assessed. These factors are weighted to reflect their relative importance in determining the bushfire risk.

The output of the risk assessment is a map consisting of roads classified into three groups according to the level of risk.

  • Low risk roads (marked in Green on the maps) are those where the level of bushfire risk does not warrant specific bushfire mitigation works, however may still include the standard routine maintenance program.
  • Moderate risk roads (marked in Yellow on the maps) will receive the standard suite of treatments from the routine maintenance program; and
  • High risk roads (marked in Red on the maps) require additional detailed assessment and may warrant additional fire risk mitigation treatments. As the risk cannot be managed on the roadside alone consideration needs to be given to broader treatments.

This then provides an output map which can be utilised by road managers including VicRoads and Municipal Councils to prioritise and undertake works.

5.2.1 Risk Assessment

There are a number of risk assessment processes undertaken generally within the emergency management sector as well as specific risk assessment processes relating to bushfire.

5.2.1.1 Community Emergency Risk Assessment (CERA)

The Community Emergency Risk Assessment (CERA) provides Emergency Management Planning Committees (EMPC) with a framework for considering and improving the safety and resilience of their community from hazards and emergencies.

The CERA approach aims to understand the likely impacts of a range of emergency scenarios upon community assets, values and functions. As such, CERA provides an opportunity for multiple community impacts and consequences to be considered enabling collaborative risk treatment plans and emergency preparedness measures to be described.

The CERA Tool provides a robust framework for a ‘community of interest’ to identify and prioritise those emergency risks that are likely to create most disruption to them. The assessment helps users to identify and describe hazards and assess impacts and consequences based upon the vulnerability or exposure of the community or its functions.

The outputs of the assessment process can be used to inform emergency management planning, introduce risk action plans and ensure that communities are aware of and better informed about hazards and the associated emergency risks that may affect them.

CERA has been included as part of the Municipal Emergency Management Plan and includes reference to Bushfire.

5.2.1.1 Victorian Fire Risk Register – Bushfire (VFRR-B)

(Information sourced from Victorian Fire Risk Register – Bushfire Reference Guide) Risk management is now imbedded in most organisations involved in Integrated Fire Management Planning (IFMP) and is generally consistent with the key principles of the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009. Its application and implementation can however vary from one agency to another.

A consistent risk management approach across a range of stakeholders is required to achieve a practical and flexible framework and ensures that a generally accepted method of risk management is being applied across the public sector, one which adopts a balanced methodology and widely accepted approach to risk identification, analysis and risk reporting.

The main assets of the risk management process, as shown in Figure 1.1 are the following:

Communicate and consult – Communicate and consult with stakeholders as appropriate at each stage of the risk management process and concerning the process as a whole.

Establish a context – Establish the risk management context in which the rest of the process will take place. Criteria against which risk will be evaluated should be established and the structure of the analysis defined.

Identify risks – Identify where, when, why and how events should prevent, degrade, delay or enhance the achievement of the objectives.

Analyse risks – Determine consequence and likelihood and hence the level of risk. This analysis should consider the range of potential consequences and how these could occur.

Evaluate risks – Compare levels of risks against pre-established criteria and consider the balance between potential benefits and adverse outcomes. This enables decisions to be made about the nature of treatments required and about priorities.

Treat Risks – Develop and implement specific cost effective strategies and action plans for increasing potential benefits and reducing potential costs.

Monitor and review – Monitor the effectiveness of all the steps in the risk management process, this is important for continuous improvement.

Risks and the effectiveness of treatment measures need to be monitored to ensure changing circumstances do not alter priorities.

The Victorian Fire Risk Register – Bushfire (VFRR-B) application is a systematic process that identifies assets at risk from Bushfire, assesses the level of risk to assets and highlights the risk mitigation treatments currently in place, along with the responsible agencies for implementing these strategies.

Formulas and data used within these guidelines are based on best available information at the time of development and maybe subject to change over time as other more accurate data and information becomes available.

The City of Casey as part of the CFMPC regularly reviews and updates as required, the VFRR-B for the municipality.

Risk 5.2.2.2 - That new infrastructure built by the City of Casey is not included in the VFRR.

5.3 Risk Management

5.3.1 Prevention

Prevention is defined as the regulatory and physical measures to ensure that emergencies are prevented, or their effects mitigated.

5.3.1.1 Planning Controls – Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO)

The BMO provisions are contained in Clause 44.06 of the Casey Planning Scheme. The BMO applies to land areas within the City of Casey as depicted in the Casey Planning Scheme BMO maps.

The BMO map identifies land areas of extreme fuel loads, where there is potential for extreme fuel loads, or where there is potential for extreme bushfire behaviour such as a crowning fire and extreme ember attack. These are ‘Bushfire Hazard Level 2 Areas’.

When triggered, the BMO provisions must be considered when planning proposals, such as rezoning or subdivision of land and construction of certain types of buildings, are submitted to Council.

The Minister for Planning is responsible for review of the BMO mapping as ground conditions change. Council officers co-ordinate with the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure when requested to assist in any review.

5.3.1.2 Building Controls – Bushfire Prone Areas (BPA)

The Building Regulations 2006 require that a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment is undertaken for all proposed construction within a designated BPA to determine appropriate construction methods. The BAL must be determined in accordance with Australian Standard 3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas. All new dwellings, additions and alterations to dwellings on sites determined as BAL Low within a designated BPA must be built to a minimum BAL 12.5.

Designated BPA’s within the City of Casey are depicted in the designated BPA Map as determined by the Minister for Planning.

The BPA map identifies land areas of high to extreme fuel loads where there is potential for high bushfire behaviour such as a crown fire and ember attack. These are ‘Bushfire Hazard Level 1 Areas’.

When triggered, the building controls must be considered by Registered Building Surveyors when building permit applications are submitted to them. It should be noted that Council do not provide a building permit service to the public.

The Minister for Planning is responsible for review of the BPA mapping as ground conditions change. Council Officers liaise with the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure when requested to assist in any review.

Risk 5.3.1.2 - That Council’s Capital Works Program does not take into account Bushfire Attack Level requirements for Council facilities in bushfire-prone areas.

5.3.2 Strategic and Statutory Planning

5.3.2.1 Strategic Planning

Council has determined that the State Government’s new bushfire planning provisions, applied through the BMO and CFA’s conditions, place unreasonable and onerous bushfire risk management obligations on Council. Accordingly, Council will not support any strategic plans for future development of land within current or proposed BMO areas, until appropriate management solutions are determined by the State Government and the CFA. Council officers will continue promoting Council’s position to the Minister for Planning, the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) and the Growth Areas Authority (GAA) to negotiate appropriate bushfire management solutions.

5.3.2.2 Strategic Planning

Planning Scheme Amendments

Until appropriate management solutions are determined by the State Government and CFA for land within areas of high bushfire risk that do not place an unreasonable onus on Council, no planning scheme amendment that seeks to rezone land within such areas for urban purposes will be supported.

Planning Permit Applications

Until appropriate management solutions are determined by the State Government and CFA for land within areas of high bushfire risk that do not place an unreasonable onus on Council, no planning permit application that triggers any CFA bushfire planning provisions resulting in onerous ongoing management and enforcement obligations on Council will be supported.

Planning Enforcement

Planning Permits that have been issued by Council in areas affected by the BMO, as well as properties affected by Section 173 Agreements (S173) with specific ‘bushfire management’ obligations within an area designated as BMO, will be proactively enforced / monitored in accordance with the adopted City of Casey Planning Investigations Response Procedure (PIRP).

The PIRP has been designed to:

  • Maintain Council’s commitment to pro-active and reactive planning investigation;
  • Assist in providing the equitable delivery of consistent and well measured
  • Provide the appropriate enforcement escalation and the means to engage with prosecution proceedings; and responses to alleged planning breaches;
  • Give guidance to Officers when prioritising planning compliance queries.

The aim of the Planning Investigations Unit is to achieve compliance with the City of Casey’s Local Planning Scheme, Planning Permits and s173 Agreements.

5.3.2.3 Building and Construction Standards

The Building Regulations 2006 and Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volumes One and Two set out the requirements for the construction of buildings located within designated BPA’s. It is important to note that the BCA specifically refers to the necessity for compliance in regards to Class 1a, 2, 3 and associated 10a buildings; this refers to building dwelling and associated outbuildings only. It does not require other classes of buildings to comply; for example Class 9 public buildings for which Council are involved in the design, construction and maintenance of its own assets.

Despite this, Council may choose to incorporate elements of good design relating to the bushfire provisions into its own Capital Works Program.

Risk 5.3.2.3 - That new buildings undertaken or buildings upgraded by Council may be utilised for other purposes, including shelter options under state legislation.

5.3.2.4 Casey Community Local Law 2/2010

The City of Casey, as part of provisions provided within the Local Government Act 1999, has introduced a local law (known as City of Casey Community Local Law Number 2/2010). The local law covers a number of areas to improve local amenity and safety, including Community Protection, Noise, Obstructions, Bulk Rubbish, Clothing Bins, Signs, Vehicles, Behaviour in a public place for financial gain, Festivals, Fireworks etc. Incorporated into this local law is Section 29, relating to Fire.

The general principle of this clause is to provide control around burning off and requires residents to obtain a permit to light or allow a fire to remain alight. It also restricts the types of materials which are allowed to be burnt.

Within the local law, there are also clauses relating to discharge from chimneys, noxious weeds, unsightly and dangerous premises.

Risk 5.3.2.4 - That people undertake burning on private property to reduce fuels without taking into consideration safety requirements or amenity issues for neighbours.

5.3.2.5 Severe, Extreme and Code Red Fire Danger Days Operating Policy

The purpose of the Severe, Extreme and Code Red Fire Danger Days Operating Policy is to:

  1. Inform and provide advice to Council Staff, Contractors and Volunteers who need to provide services in areas designated as bushfire prone or subject to a Bushfire Management Overlay on days of higher fire danger (Severe, Extreme and Code Red); and
  2. Ensure consistency of service provision between Council and other Government co-located services on days of higher fire danger (Severe, Extreme and Code Red).

The Policy also includes provisions for a Management Plan and Business Unit Fire Danger Day Action Plan to be created.

Risk 5.3.2.5 - That staff, contractors or volunteers may be placed at higher risk of injury or death by working at or travelling through locations which may experience bushfire during Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger days.

5.3.2.6 Casey Municipal Fire Management Plan

The City of Casey is one of a number of organisations which actively participate in the Casey Fire Management Planning Committee and the development of the Casey Municipal Fire Management Plan.

The Plan’s purpose is to achieve:

  • A better understanding of the community and the environment in relation to the impact of fire;
  • Improved community resilience and self-reliance;
  • Coordination across the responsible agencies in delivering identified bushfire mitigation works; and
  • More productive partnerships between community safety stakeholders.

There are a number of actions identified within the plan for the City of Casey to undertake, and all members of the Casey Fire Management Planning Committee regularly report on the actions undertaken.

Risk 5.3.2.6 - That there is not consistent in recording and dealing with risks and treatments identified in both the Fire Management Operations Plan and the Casey Municipal Fire Management Plan.

5.3.2.7 Hazardous Tree Identification and Notification Procedure

The Electrical Safety Act 1998 (Vic) (ESAct) provides that a municipal council must specify, within its Municipal Fire Prevention Plan:

  • Procedures and criteria for the identification of trees that are likely to fall onto, or come into contact with, an electric line (hazard trees); and
  • Procedures for the notification of responsible persons of trees that are hazard trees in relation to electric lines for which they are responsible

Under the ESAct, the person responsible for maintaining vegetation and clearance space around power lines is referred to as the ‘responsible person’.

Risk 5.3.2.7 - That trees may fall and cause damage to electrical wires resulting in the potential to ignite a bushfire.

5.3.2.8 Botanic Ridge Fire Buffer Zone

Refer to the Botanic Ridge Precinct Structure Plan for part of the land surrounding the Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, as this may provide guidance as to the appropriate and required management for Council land in the area.

This section will be updated as soon as further information is available.

Risk 5.3.2.8 - That fire from the Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens may impact houses or council property, causing property damage and threatening the safety of residents.

5.4 Preparedness

5.4.1 Natural Environment

The region in which the City of Casey is located is physically diverse, with considerable variation in geology, physiography, soils and climate. Land use impacts, predominately from agriculture and, more recently, urbanisation, have reduced the pre-European biodiversity of the region to a fraction of that which formerly existed.

5.4.1.1 Biodiversity

In general, the most extensive vegetation remnants and fauna habitats of highest quality occur on public lands managed by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria (e.g. Churchill National Park, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, and coastal areas of Blind Bight, Cannons Creek, Tooradin and Warneet). These conservation reserves, as well as some managed by the City of Casey (e.g. council reserves in Blind Bight) are of critical importance to save this remnant vegetation. Overall, however, little of the natural vegetation remains within the municipality compared to estimates for pre European settlement (see Figure 2).