IN BRIEF

Building and bushfire

Families building new homes in the Blacktown and Hawkesbury areas can save $800 under new arrangements for approvals in bushfire-prone areas, Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly MP said.

The changes remove the need for local home-builders to do an assessment of bushfire risk when they lodge their DA to build, if the Rural Fire Service has undertaken an upfront assessment of bushfire risk at the subdivision stage.

Currently, people building homes in bushfire-prone subdivisions have to undertake their own assessment — even if the RFS has previously given the subdivision the tick of approval, adding about $800 to the cost of building a new home.

Mr Conolly said the changes only apply to land in urban release zones in 40 local government areas including Blacktown and Hawkesbury, and won't affect development in existing subdivisions in bushfire-prone areas.

Under the changes the RFS will also be able to update bushfire-prone land maps of new release areas as needed.

Changes will only be allowed if:

■ The land is not at high risk of bushfire;

■ RFS has given approval, known as a Bushfire Safety Authority, allowing building in bushfire-prone areas;

■ A Post-Subdivision Bushfire Attack Level certificate, issued by the RFS or suitably qualified consultant, has been issued; and

■ The authority in charge of approving the new home, such as the local council, is satisfied the building complies with any conditions that have been put in place by the RFS.

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