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What we do

Melbourne is Australia's fastest growing city - our population is tipped to hit around 6 million by 2030. As new suburbs rise on the city’s fringe, our native animals, plants and fragile ecosystems are placed under increasing pressure. The Melbourne Strategic Assessment (MSA) Program ensures that development in these areas follows strict Victorian and Australian environmental laws, and our biodiversity is protected into the future. The program is underpinned by the MSA Act.

Yellow ball flower on a green stem background blurred
Pycnosorus Chrysanthes

The program also streamlines the approvals process for developers. Developers must follow certain requirements, including paying the MSA levy. The levy goes towards funding the creation and management of our conservation reserves and programs, and running much-needed conservation management programs for vulnerable species. This long-term, strategic approach will achieve strong outcomes for our much-loved native ecosystems, plants and animals.

We aim to balance development, which is essential to our city’s growth, with protecting our environment for generations to come.

Our key actions

We're working alongside our government and community partners to secure more than 20,000 hectares of the best remaining habitat around the city's outskirts. We use money collected through a levy on development in our growth corridors. These funds go towards building a network of conservation reserves, areas and management programs:

Read more about the program's conservation outcomes in Delivering Melbourne's Newest Sustainable Communities Report (2009).

How it works

We work with developers and others in the industry to make sure development in our growth areas follows Victorian and Australian environmental laws.

The program streamlines developers' assessment and approvals process, saving both money and time. This process includes a levy that developers must pay to offset any impacts on biodiversity.

This levy goes towards funding our conservation reserves and programs. We also work in partnership to restore, monitor and manage our irreplaceable species and ecosystems.

Developers pay a levy to offset biodiversity Streamlining processes We created a clear and simple process for a developer in the growth areas. Developers pay a levy to 'offset' any biodiversity impacts and don't need to seek additional approvals from the Australian Government. Funds go towards conservation programs and reserves Actions backed by science We use the latest science and research to restore ecosystems and boost populations of threatened species. Best-practice monitoring and reporting We implement long-term monitoring and reporting to make sure current and future management can adapt to new information. Ongoing management and protection of threatened species Working partnerships Our approach focuses on strengthening local partnerships to ensure the best chance of success when it comes to managing public and private land.

View a larger version of the how it works infographic.

Page last updated: 21/02/24