The Coalition Government is delivering a further $800,000 to councils towards vital bushfire planning projects bringing the total allocation to $2 million over the past year.
Eleven councils have already received financial assistance based on their areas of significant bushfire hazard. Minister for Planning Matthew Guy is now calling for Expressions of Interest from councils that did not receive funding last year.
"This second round of funding provides important support to councils in delivering bushfire planning activities. It will go towards ensuring future development in their municipality is more fire-resilient without imposing a financial burden upon ratepayers," Mr Guy said.
The funding will be directed to suitable projects relating to strategic planning around bushfire risk and mitigation, planning compliance to make communities safer and implementing bushfire planning provisions.
"As recognised by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, good strategic planning allows risks to be avoided rather than having to be treated; facilitating regional growth and development in the most appropriate locations," Mr Guy said.
"This is why we are working closely with the local government sector to provide support – both financial and professional – to projects such as Murrindindi's Kinglake, Flowerdale and Toolangi growth plan and Macedon Ranges' settlement strategy.
"These projects demonstrate how the consideration of bushfire risk in future development will assist in making our homes and communities of tomorrow more bushfire prepared.
"Council initiatives include an iPad application being developed by Alpine Shire that council officers will use to help landholders identify the optimum site on which to build, taking into account bushfire hazards. The application will use the recently introduced bushfire protection measures and standards to calculate slope of the land, area of defendable space and emergency vehicle access.
"This is just one example of how the financial assistance is being used to increase the protection of residents from bushfires.
"I would encourage councils to consider how this additional funding can help them create better bushfire prepared and planned communities."
As part of the Coalition Government's commitment to improving understanding of bushfire risk management, councils across the state continue to receive free training to implement the bushfire planning provisions.
Expressions of Interest close on 23 March 2012.