On 11 February 2020 the Melbourne Strategic Assessment (Environment Mitigation Levy) Act 2020 came into effect. The Act provides for the collection of the Environment Mitigation Levy from 1 July 2020 and is in accordance with the Melbourne Strategic Assessment (MSA) Report and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The Environment Mitigation Levy scheme replaces the current Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS) Habitat Compensation Obligation fee system and will result in increases in the levies applied to relevant habitats. The accumulated funds will be held by the Victorian Government in the Melbourne Strategic Assessment Fund.
The aim of the levy is to fund measures to mitigate the impact of urban development on native vegetation and matters of National Environmental Significance in Melbourne’s growth corridors. It is relevant to land to which the BCS and the MSA apply.
Melbourne Strategic Assessment Fund
The Melbourne Strategic Assessment Fund will hold the levy contributions to be spent on conservation and environmental mitigation actions. This can include acquisition and management of land, and activities for the conservation of:
Benefits of the Levy
With the passing of the Act, it is anticipated that a number of benefits and improvements to the assessment, payment and processes of the current fee system will occur. These include:
Application of the Levy
The levy will apply to land subject to urban expansion within Melbourne's Growth Areas. Several actions are excluded from the levy, including building works and subdivision of a minor nature and those not subject to Commonwealth approval. Excluded actions under the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution are also not subject to the levy under this new Bill.
Other points of note:
Calculating the Levy
The levy liability is based on the number of scattered trees and the area of each habitat coverage recorded in the Environment Mitigation Information System ((EMIS). This dataset will be available at www.msa.vic.gov.au.
The Environment Mitigation Information System will depict, calculate and record the amount of habitat coverage, as well as scattered tree locations across a particular land parcel. Public access to this system will be provided free of charge through the Department of Water, Environment, Land and Planning at this stage.
The value of the levy is based on the:
The condition of the habitat, trees or other matters that may be present are not considered in levy assessments.
Where more than one habitat area overlaps, this is considered a ‘composite area’ and each type of habitat incurs a levy.
Applicable Habitat Areas
Indicative Environment Mitigation Levy Amounts
As with the existing Habitat Compensation Obligation system, the levy is the sum of any one or more of the following amounts per hectare of habitat area. Increases over existing charges are shown in brackets and these will be indexed annually until 2024-2025.
1. Golden Sun Moth habitat area: $10 005 (+26%)
2. Growling Grass Frog habitat area: $7846 (+4%)
3. Matted Flax-lily habitat area: $11 351 (+1%)
4. Native vegetation area: $113 441 (+19%)
5. Scattered tree location: $15 768 each (+19%)
6. Southern Brown Bandicoot habitat area: $4138 (+3%)
7. Spiny Rice-flower habitat area: $8522 per hectare (+7%)
The Environment Mitigation Levy will come into effect on 1 July 2020.
Ecology and Heritage Partners are available to answer questions regarding the levy and how this may or may not apply to your project.
Please contact our natural heritage team on 1300 839 325 to discuss your project and any other questions you may have.