Have your say: draft open-air fires local law  

Published: 17 August 2021

Following extensive community and agency consultation, Council has proposed new open-air fires regulations which will be open for public exhibition for community feedback from Friday 20 August 2021.

The proposed Open Air Fires Local Law aims to provide adequate provision for fuel reduction and fire prevention while discouraging unnecessary smoke health hazards. 

The proposed local law details the regulations for open-air fires - commonly known as ‘burning off’ – outside of the declared fire danger period.   

This new law will provide the community with more opportunities to reduce bushfire risk through burning-off while ensuring public safety remains a key priority.  

The proposed changes to local open-air burning regulations will make it easier and safer for residents to reduce fire fuel hazards on their properties. 

Cardinia Shire Mayor Councillor Brett Owen said the proposed changes aimed to ensure that open air burning was used to minimise the risk of bushfire across the shire in a safe manner. 

“We believe the draft local law reflects the community’s feedback and balances the need for fuel reduction and fire prevention with community amenity, environmental benefits and broader public health interests. 

“We encourage everyone to jump online later this week, review the proposed new regulations and provide feedback.” 

The proposed local law renews focus on: 

  • Smoke impacts on community 
  • Bushfire fuel reduction and property preparation 
  • Burning off timeframes 
  • Burning off in townships 
  • Alternative methods of green waste disposal 
  • Environmental impacts  

As part of the proposed local law, the Shire will be divided into three zones with appropriate open air fire regulations, rather than the previous rules where regulations were based on zoning and land size.  

This proposal is a move to make it simpler and easier for residents to undertake fuel reduction while balancing health and environmental concerns.  

In the Urban and Township Zone, burning off is proposed to be allowed only with a permit. 

In the Bushland and Peri-Urban Zone and the Rural Zone, if criteria is met, a permit for burning off may not be required.    

July and August will be declared ‘no burn months’ throughout the Shire. This means burning-off will be prohibited in across the entire shire throughout those two months of the year. 

This change aims to reduce hazardous smoke caused from burning wet material. This is intended to encourage an uptake of alternative methods of waste disposal during these wetter months and reduce smoke impacts over the school holiday period. 

In response to community feedback, where permitted, weekend days to “burn off’ will now be Sundays, not Saturdays. The proposal has also been revised to include a new clause restricting open air fires on public holidays. 

Council is inviting feedback until Friday 17 September, and will review all feedback before deciding whether to make the local law. 

To view the proposed Open Air Fires Local Law and for feedback details visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay 

All submissions must be submitted to Council prior to 17 September 2021.