Natural Disaster Recovery – Deadline to rebuild approaching

Published on 03 July 2024


Upcoming deadline to rebuild or replace lawfully erected dwelling houses and secondary dwellings that have been damaged or destroyed by a bushfire natural disaster and end to waiving of development application fees for replacement homes.

Between July 2019 and January 2020, 548,698 hectares, 59% of the Clarence Valley was burnt by catastrophic and unprecedented bushfires. The fires directly impacted 1500 rural residents and a total of 168 houses were lost. Nymboida was the hardest hit, losing 90 homes; Ewingar, Dundurrabin and Glenreagh were also significantly impacted.

To facilitate the rebuild and repair of dwellings following a natural disaster, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has prepared a clause for inclusion as an optional provision in the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order.

Clause 5.9 of the Clarence Valley Local Environmental Plan (LEP) states that a dwelling, including a secondary dwelling, can be rebuilt or repaired if the original lawful dwelling was destroyed or damaged in a natural disaster. A development application (DA) is still required to allow for Council to undertake a merit assessment, however the rebuild or repair cannot be refused on the basis of any development standards in the LEP.

5.9 Dwelling house or secondary dwelling affected by natural disaster

(1)  The objective of this clause is to enable the repair or replacement of lawfully erected dwelling houses and secondary dwellings that have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster.

(2)  This clause applies to land in the following zones—

(a)  RU1 Primary Production,

(b)  RU2 Rural Landscape,

(c)  RU3 Forestry,

(d)  R5 Large Lot Residential,

(e)  C2 Environmental Conservation.

(3)  Despite the other provisions of this Plan, development consent may be granted to development on land to which this clause applies to enable a dwelling house or secondary dwelling that has been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster to be repaired or replaced if—

(a)  the dwelling house or secondary dwelling was lawfully erected, and

(b)  the development application seeking the development consent is made to the consent authority no later than 5 years after the day on which the natural disaster caused the damage or destruction.


When is the 5 year deadline?

The 5 year date referred to under 5.9(3)(b) is coming up for the Clarence Valley’s affected areas mentioned above.

Council has issued many development approvals for the construction of replacement dwellings in these areas under the above clause. However, residents who are yet to lodge a DA should be aware that the 5 year date will be your final opportunity to apply for a bushfire rebuild under Clause 5.9 of the LEP. To determine this deadline, the applicant will be required to submit evidence of the date on which the dwelling was damaged or destroyed. This will inform Council of whether the DA has been lodged within 5 years of the natural disaster.

The deadline is the date 5 years after the day on which the natural disaster caused the damage or destruction to the dwelling.

What happens if I do not lodge a DA before the deadline?

Applications for replacement homes lodged after the deadline will no longer be considered under Clause 5.9 and development application fee’s for such applications will no longer be waived.

Any DA lodged after the deadline will be considered by Council under current legislation and policies, rather than on merit. This means any lot below the minimum lot size which contained a lawfully approved dwelling prior to the natural disaster will not retain a dwelling entitlement if an application has not been lodged by 5 year deadline. This is specified in Clause 4.2B – Erection of dwelling houses and dual occupancies on land in certain rural, residential and conservation zones of the Clarence Valley Local Environment Plan 2011

Does the deadline apply to my property?

The deadline applies to those properties that do not meet the minimum lot size requirements for the zone under the Clarence Valley Local Environmental Plan 2011 and a lawful dwelling was lost in the 2019-20 bushfires. This is generally 40 hectares in the Nymboida, Glenreagh and Dundurrabin areas and 100 hectares in the Ewingar and Bulldog areas.

The minimum lot size of your property (and other information) can be found through searching your property on the NSW Planning Portal Spatial Viewer or on Council’s Online Mapping /Planning & Development Layer.


How do I submit a DA for a dwelling affected by natural disaster

The ‘Building and Planning’ tab on Council’s website has information on how to prepare documentation for, and submit, a DA for a dwelling.

The DA will need to be lodged through the NSW Planning Portal.

A Fact Sheet prepared by the NSW Government may also assist in your understanding of the Clause and how to proceed.

Council’s website provides further information on the 2019-20 bushfires and recovery: 

If you have further questions about any of the above information, contact Council’s Duty Planner on 02 6643 0200 or visit our Grafton or Maclean Customer Centres between 8:30am to 11:00am weekdays.


Tagged as: