Helping rebuild after natural disasters

It will now be easier for homeowners to rebuild or repair their homes after a natural disaster, following action taken by the NSW Government.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said councils can now use a new planning provision that gives them the flexibility to help homeowners after a flood or bushfire.

“The Natural Disasters Clause, which has already been adopted by 32 councils, enables councils to approve appropriate applications to repair or rebuild homes even if planning rules have changed since their home was originally built,” Mr Stokes said.

“At the moment, councils have to apply all current rules to any application to rebuild or repair homes after a natural disaster.

“Planning rules change over time as new technologies emerge and as community expectations change. This clause will let people rebuild homes approved under different rules in the past, so long as they meet safety and design standards.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the new measure was prompted by the aftermath of recent floods and bushfires throughout the state.

“Losing your home is one of the most heartbreaking experiences and although we can’t bring back homes or memories, we can make it a little easier by getting rid of the barriers to rebuilding, repairing and recovering,” Mr Elliott said.

“We’ve seen countless families lose everything and we want to do all we can to help them get back on their feet. This new clause will help affected homeowners get back on their feet and save time and money.”

Under the new clause, homeowners will no longer have to include formal requests to change development standards as part of their application, where planning rules have changed over time.

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