Recent updates to the Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) maps in 26 local government areas in Victoria are expected to save landowners up to $24 million through reduced building red tape.

Victoria Planning Minister Matthew Guy has approved updates to the BPA maps following a review of bushfire risk mapping. Mr Guy explains that the updates will remove unnecessary red tape for landowners, as well as the cost burden of complying with these regulations.

The latest move is part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to reduce the compliance burden for families and builders, and complements their recently announced reforms to the Bushfire Management Overlay, which will be implemented in the coming weeks.

Mr Guy approved updates to the Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) maps for 26 local government areas, which remove a net 7,549 properties from the BPA maps. The estimated regulatory savings are $3,200 per lot, or a total of $24.1 million in red tape savings for the affected property owners.

A total of 7,682 urban lots have been removed from the BPA maps, while the review identified 133 lots for addition to the maps due to previous mapping anomalies.

The councils with the largest number of urban lots removed are Greater Geelong (1,652 lots), Bass Coast (805 lots), Hume (688 lots), Casey (458 lots), Greater Shepparton (412 lots), Cardinia (411 lots), Latrobe (354 lots), Mitchell (320 lots), Melton (318 lots), and Ballarat (315 lots).

According to Mr Guy, the latest initiative follows a string of positive announcements for Victorian builders, including the upcoming free online access to the National Construction Code and Building Code of Australia, a 14.9 per cent increase in Victorian dwelling approvals for April 2014, and record high economic confidence revealed in a recent Master Builders Association survey.

The amended Bushfire Prone Area maps were approved under the Building Regulations 2006, and gazetted on 3 June. Additionally, the BPA mapping criteria will soon be published online to provide greater transparency for the building sector.