Implementing Reform of Legacy Housing Stock Against Bushfire: A Legislative Basis

Implementing Reform of Legacy Housing Stock Against Bushfire: A Legislative Basis

Elliott Leonard Provis (University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJDREM.2018040102

Abstract

Governments face great difficulty in convincing private property owners to retrofit housing for dispersed risks such as bushfire risk, when more ‘everyday' risks such as car accidents are considered. The hip pocket nerve is often the determinant when individuals are making tradeoffs between such risks. This article seeks to analyze these difficulties and establish a legal scheme to appropriately assist these individuals preparing against wildfire. It found that legacy housing in particular is under threat from exposure to bushfire, and that therefore a government response defined by partnerships which sought to retrofit both housing and communities would be an effective measure to enhance pre-existing housing, and community resilience to wildfire. It also argued that numerous complimentary benefits from retrofitting could be accrued for the public, the private sector, and government, and it then made policy recommendations. It concludes with an appraisal of what the rule of law can offer, and how executive and community action and engagement were key to the success of any such retrofitting project (specifically those targeting private property).
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Context

Spatial planning is cited as a term encompassing methods, processes, and tools, at the centre which direct the location of economic, social, and environmental activities within the landscape (Europäische Kommission, 2000). To achieve these ends policymakers rely upon various different governing assemblages which includes framing instruments; information; regulatory tools; compulsory acquisition of land; voluntary ‘opt-in’ processes; taxes and charges as tools; and liability shielding (Further reading: Macintosh et al., 2013; Roach, 2016). Many of these instruments are codified through different legislative regimes, however in the state of Victoria (Australia) it is the ‘planning scheme’ which is utilized to coordinate spatial planning (Parliament of Victoria, 1988). The ‘planning scheme’ refers to the combined municipal/shire planning documents which constitute the rules and regulations around land use in each Local Government Area (‘LGA’) known as the Local planning Policy Framework; additionally, the planning scheme includes the State Planning Policy Framework, and the Victorian Planning Provisions, in addition to the overarching Metropolitan Plan ‘Plan Melbourne 2017-2050’ (Department of the Environment, Land, Water and Planning, 2017b). This combined scheme exists as legislative instruments created by the Planning and Environment Act (1987).

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