Damaged or destroyed fences and rehabilitation of fire control lines after bushfire
Fencing and Control Line Rehabilitation
The following provides information on damage to fences from bushfires, bushfire suppression activity and planned burning.
For access to the services mentioned below please contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on (freecall) 1800 240 667.
In Victoria there is approximately 60 000 km of boundary fencing constructed by private landholders along the boundary of public (Crown land) and private land (not including Crown land river frontage).
Responsibilities of the land-holder
- Landowners are expected to manage risks to their assets from the potential impact of bushfire.
- All land-holders are expected to have appropriate levels of insurance cover for boundary and internal fences, in the same way any business venture or private householder should protect and insure their assets.
- In line with the Fences Act 1968, the State Government of Victoria usually does not have any ownership or financial stake in fences along the boundary of private and public land. The boundary fence is considered no different to the front fence of a house in the city or along any public roadway or access track.
- It is the responsibility of the owner of private land to fence their property and secure stock within their boundary.
- National parks, State forests and Reserves are owned by and managed for all Victorians, the fence is solely for the purposes and benefit of the private land holder. Grazing of stock on public land is restricted to certain areas and usually requires a license and payment of fees for this type of activity.
- Where DEPI or Parks Victoria have an operational requirement for the public land / private land boundary fence (e.g. for environmental protection works), the agencies may at times enter into individual agreements with land-holders regarding the sharing of costs of installation and/or ongoing maintenance of a boundary fence. The most common agreement in this regard is where DEPI pays for the installation, on the condition the land-holder maintains the fence and takes up adequate levels of insurance on an ongoing basis for that fence.
Fire agency responsibility to repair fences damaged by bushfire and to rehabilitate fire control lines
Where fires start on private land and are under the control of the Country Fire Authority (CFA), the CFA provides some limited assistance for the rehabilitation of fire control lines and repair to fences damaged by machinery. DEPI will assist the CFA where possible.
Where fires start on public land or Crown land (National Parks, Reserves and State forests) DEPI is responsible for rehabilitation of fire control lines and repair to fences, as per the policy below.
This policy is effective from November 2010
Repair of Fences Damaged by Bushfire and Fire Control Line Rehabilitation
Damage to private fences (internal and boundary) by fire agency machinery during bushfire emergencies
The Victorian Government will pay 100% of the restoration costs of fences damaged on private land as a result of machinery used by fire agencies to control bushfires. This includes damage to fences by machinery such as bull-dozers entering the property and/or constructing fire control lines, and other fire emergency vehicles obtaining access.
Repair of fences damaged by bushfire on the boundary of private land and public land
Government will meet half the cost of materials to replace or repair fencing between private land and all national parks, state parks and state forests destroyed or damaged by bushfires.
Rehabilitation of fire control lines constructed by fire agencies during bushfire emergencies
Government will assist private land-holders with the rehabilitation of fire control lines, established by fire agencies, during the suppression of bushfires.
Fire control line rehabilitation involves pushing back top soil and undertaking erosion control measures to protect the land from soil erosion and protect water quality. Government may also provide seed for use by the land-holder to control erosion and prevent soil movement.
Assistance with the rehabilitation of fire control lines does not include replanting of trees, re-establishment of pasture, or any other agricultural crop. This assistance and/or advice may be available from Department of Enivornment and Primary Industries (DEPI). Please visit the DPI website for further information.
DEPI Planned Burns that escape from public land and damage private land
Government will pay the cost of asset restoration if fences or other assets are destroyed or damaged by planned burns on public land escaping onto private land.
Note - DEPI planned burns are burns undertaken as part of the yearly planned burning program and do not include fire suppression back-burns undertaken by the fire agencies during a bushfire emergency in order to try to control a bushfire.