Planning & Building


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Commonly Asked Questions

Those who have been around the Wye River and Separation Creek township after the bushfires will know that there are many challenges for rebuilding – from erosion and land stability, to bushfire management and community safety.

To help streamline the rebuilding process – as well as help speed up and drive down the costs of rebuilding – there are ‘One Stop Shops’ in Melbourne, Apollo Bay and Colac to help you with building, planning and environmental approvals.

If you would like to make an appointment at the One Stop Shop, contact the Bushfire Information Centre on 03 5232 9400 (select 1).

Any new house at Wye River or Separation Creek currently requires a Planning Permit.

Under the new process to be applied from end-March 2016, a Planning Permit will still be required but certain notices and appeal rights may be ‘switched off’ to reduce potential delays to community resettlement.

New houses must also meet bushfire construction standards according to Victorian Building Regulations.

If you live in Wye River or Separation Creek and have an existing permit for construction or renovation work, the permit will still be accepted.

Wye River and Separation Creek are covered by a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), which means that new developments will require a planning permit and appropriate bushfire protection measures.

New homes in Wye River and Separation Creek must be appropriately located, designed and constructed to respond to any bushfire hazard – this includes having cleared spaces, adequate water supply and vehicle access for emergency crews.

All new or rebuilt homes in Wye River and Separation Creek are required to meet the current Australian Standard for bushfire construction protection.

For more information visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website and read the Victorian Building Authority’s online resources for building in bushfire prone areas.

Unfortunately, some policyholders will find that they are underinsured after the loss of their property. With new Australian Standards for bushfire construction protection to take into account, your insurance level may mean that any rebuild may not be the same house.

In these instances, policyholders will need to think carefully about their financial arrangements and work closely with Colac Otway Shire to determine what they can rebuild within the funding they have available.

To discuss your individual situation please make an appointment at your nearest One Stop Shop or call the Insurance Council of Australia’s Taskforce on 1800 734 621.

You can ask your insurer for a cash payout.

However, the Insurance Council of Australia advises you to think carefully about the implications of a cash settlement as you will be entirely responsible for paying for the clean-up of the property and organising your own building arrangements.

You will also not have the guarantee insurers provide for any building work they approve.


Colac Otway Shire website –

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning –

Victorian building regulations & codes –

Victorian Building Authority –