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‘You can’t rebuild’: Urban planner floats proposal to stop building homes in bushfire prone areas

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The township of Kinglake was devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires.

Now, a decade on, it is thriving. There are 20 per cent more homes in the town than there were in 2008, before the fire hit.

But that may not be good news.

Urban planning expert from the University of Melbourne, Professor Alan March, is calling for population growth to be limited in bushfire prone areas.

“In Victoria, and around Melbourne and periphery, the context is we’ve got a lot more people being in some proximity to vegetation,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“If that is the case you can never get rid of the risks.”

Mr March called for high-risk townships to be assessed, and where necessary, restrictions put on future growth.

“I think the real answer is to look at every location on its merits and to build a toolkit of sorts, that I don’t think we have right now, which is to say ‘these are locations where we just feel we can’t treat the risk adequately and we’re just going to stop any future growth,” he said.

“There are many places where we should be saying we’re going to stop any more growth, and as houses perhaps do get burnt down, or reach the end of their lifespan, maybe we should say ‘you can’t rebuild.”

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Image: Mark Dadswell 

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