Minister for Planning Richard Wynne today refused an amendment that would have permitted rural residential development in a bushfire-prone area near Maldon.
Releasing his decision in Maldon today with Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards, Mr Wynne indicated the need to protect human life was the overriding factor in the decision.
The Andrews Labor Government is not satisfied that a multi-dwelling rural residential development housing up to 100 people in this location is appropriate and safe, noting significant risks to life and property from bushfire.
The proposal is in a high bushfire prone area, with the Country Fire Authority confirming it as a region available to burn every year due to the surrounding landscape and conditions – characteristics likely to intensify with the impacts of climate change.
While some risks can be reduced through building design, vegetation removal and fuel breaks, the key question is whether people should be put at risk in the first place.
Victorian bushfire policy changed following the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, with the subsequent Royal Commission delivering clear recommendations about the planning and building system – as well as the need for planning decisions to prioritise the protection of human life.
The Labor Government has delivered on its election commitment to the community to review the proposal and provided locals with a chance to have their say.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“Bushfires are a part of life across Victoria – but with the right planning and preparation, we can build safe and resilient communities.”
“We’ve taken on board the lessons of Black Saturday by acting on the recommendations of the Royal Commission and ensuring they’re consistently implemented.”
“Community safety should always be top priority. This is the best outcome for the region and its residents – placing the protection of human life front and centre.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards
“Maldon is a known fire-risk area with a history of fires going through – so this is a common sense decision.”
“We’ve worked with the local community to ensure their voice was heard, and they’ve been clear: this development simply posed an unacceptable safety risk.”