All Australians will be able to access the bushfire construction standard free of charge for the next eighteen months after the Federal Government and Standard Australia announced that they would jointly fund the cost of people accessing the standard.

In a joint announcement, the Commonwealth Government and Standards Australia have said they will jointly fund access to Australian Standard AS 3959:2018 under an arrangement through which any users will be able to access the standard through Standards Australia’s distributors at no charge from now up until June 2021.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said that waiving this access fee was a simple and practical way to assist, and part of a broader range of measures being provided through the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

“Australians who are rebuilding their lives or planning new construction following the recent devastating bushfires should not have to worry about the cost of ensuring that their families are protected under the latest bushfire standard,” Andrews said.

“We are pleased to be able to work with Standards Australia to ensure that this key standard is made available to everyone during the critical planning and rebuilding phase.”

Standards Australia chief executive officer Adrian O’Connell agrees.

“This is a difficult time for many individuals and communities. When the scale of the disaster became apparent, I wanted to make sure that Standards Australia was directly contributing to the broader Australian response,” O’Connell.

“By funding access to this standard together with the Commonwealth Government, Standards Australia hopes that as communities rebuild after these most recent bushfires, they do so with access to Australia’s construction standard that deals with bushfire prone areas.

“I am very proud that we have been able to announce this today,”

Last updated in 2018, the Standard provides technical design requirements for the construction of homes in bushfire prone areas along with the criteria needed to assess the level of bushfire risk associated with a property.

The latest announcement comes as State and Federal Governments invest heavily to assist communities which have been impacted by fires.

Last month, the Federal Government announced it would establish a new agency to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities known as the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and would spend an initial $2 billion in establishing a national bushfire recovery fund to support bushfire recovery efforts.

In its statement, Standards Australian said the recent bushfires have highlighted the need to ensure the safety of Australian lives, homes and property.

It said designing and constructing homes to the highest standard is an important means of protecting the interests of Australians during future bushfire events.

The AS 3959:2018 standard will be made available by Standards Australia until 30 June 2021 through its distributor’s websites.