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Planning for Bushfire Prone Areas

This course will cover the critical essentials for designing, planning and building in bushfire prone areas. It will enable participants to understand the legislation, planning and design principles that protect property and human life from bushfires.

About this course

Severe and ongoing bushfires in Australia have highlighted the importance of planned and controlled development in bushfire prone areas. To maximise safety, the NSW Government has amended legislation and published new guidelines, Planning for Bushfire Protection. 

Planning for Bushfire Prone Areas is designed to provide planning and development professionals, particularly those working in the local government arena, with the necessary skills and understanding to apply the relevant requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979Rural Fires Act 1997 and AS 3333959 (Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas).

Course structure

In this course you will cover legislation, planning and design principles, as well as aspects of bushfire behaviour and management in detail. You will learn about statutory requirements and protection measures, as well as analysing and problem-solving in relation to bushfire protection measures and acceptable solutions. Sessions are designed to build knowledge, provoke discussions and encourage critical thinking.

Topics covered during the course include:

  • Bushfire behaviour
  • A multi-faceted approach to bushfire protection
  • Provisions of the Environment and Planning and Assessment Act and Rural Fires Act
  • 'Planning for Bushfire Protection' manual
  • Biodiversity considerations
  • Undertaking bushfire assessments: Application of Seniors Living SEPP
  • Using covenants
  • Legal issues and cases
  • Requirements of AS 3959 (Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas)
  • Designing safe and attractive buildings in bushfire prone areas.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand bushfire behaviour and approaches to protection of property and human life.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the legislative frameworks and contexts.
  • Apply an understanding of the current status of planning for bushfire-prone areas in NSW.
  • Identify and assess issues in bushfire protection and regulation.
  • Conduct bushfire assessments.
  • Consider issues related to biodiversity.
  • Identify key elements in case studies and best practice.


To complete this course, you will need a personal computer with adequate internet access and sufficient software and bandwidth to support web conferencing. You will also require an operating system with a web browser compatible with Canvas and Zoom. 

Enrolment conditions

Course purchase is subject to UTS Open Terms and Conditions. 

COVID-19 Information

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, as informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of this response, some of our short courses may be postponed to a later date.

Please note however, bookings are open for all courses offered by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG). If a course needs to be postponed, participants will have the chance to transfer to a later date, a new course or request a full refund. IPPG will also be offering a range of online or blended learning options facilitated via zoom video conferencing. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact our team at

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for planning and development professionals, particularly those in local government, requiring the necessary skills and understanding to apply the relevant requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Rural Fires Act 1997 and AS 3333959 (Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas).



20 March




5 days


5 x 8 hrs

Make an enquiry

Have a question?

Meet the Expert

Grahame Douglas

Grahame Douglas
Senior Lecturer at Western Sydney University

Grahame Douglas gained over fifteen years’ experience with the Rural Fire Service in strategic analysis and was the architect of the 2002 amendments to legislation concerning development in bushfire prone areas. He also finalised the 2006 edition of ‘Planning for Bushfire Protection’.

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Stuart Little

Stuart Little

Stuart Little worked with the NSW Department of Planning for 13 years in bushfire and natural resources policy. He was also one of the authors of ‘Planning for Bushfire Protection’ in 2001 and has been closely involved in its implementation.

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Colin Wood

Colin Wood
Building & Compliance

Colin Wood holds degrees in Building and Environmental Health, a Masters Degree in Building Surveying and a Graduate Diploma in Bushfire Design. He is a practising Environmental Health and Building Surveyor with over 35 years experience in both Local Government and Private Practice.  Colin is currently the Section Manager of Building & Compliance at Shoalhaven City Council.

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Book a session

Mon 20 Mar 2023 -
Fri 24 Mar 2023
Expert: Grahame Douglas, Stuart Little, Colin Wood
  • This course will be delivered at the UTS City campus.
  • On-campus
  • 5 sessions, 40 hours total
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Acknowledgement of Country

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.