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About the levy

The MSA levy funds our conservation programs and reserves and helps mitigate any impacts from development on biodiversity. The levy is underpinned by the Melbourne Strategic Assessment (Environment Mitigation Levy) Act 2020

Where does the levy apply?

You only need to pay a levy when development is within the MSA levy area boundary. If you are developing land in the legacy 12 precincts, you can meet your obligations either through biodiversity offset fees administered by the MSA program or in accordance with the relevant Native Vegetation Precinct Plan.

To find out more if you need to pay, please visit MSA Levy Estimator or read the levy area declaration.

Habitat wetland with urban development bordering conservation area
Growling grass frog habitat wetland. Image credit: Nick Lauer

When do I need to pay the levy?

Who needs to pay?

Landowner.

When does the levy need to be paid?

When you receive a Statement of Compliance for a plan of subdivision.

What is the process?

  • Email the MSA team to confirm you have received a Statement of Compliance.
  • We will email you a levy assessment notice.
  • The levy must be paid within three months of receiving the Statement of Compliance.
  • Once paid, we will email you a certificate to confirm payment and remove the s45 Notice from the land title in SPEAR. Then, you can lodge your plan of subdivision with Land Use Victoria.

Please note, you can make staged payments - please see the information below.

Need help with SPEAR? Contact the SPEAR service desk.

Who needs to pay?

  • landowner, if on privately owned land
  • person or organisation carrying out work, if on Crown land

When does the levy need to be paid?

When applying for a building permit (for a building other than a single dwelling).

What is the process?

  • The responsible person completes a Notification of Levy Event - Building Works form (PDF, 82.8 KB) and email it to the MSA within 14 days of receiving a building permit application.
    Please note:
    • on private land, the responsible person is the building surveyor
    • on Crown land, the responsible person is the person managing the building work.
  • We will email you a levy assessment notice.
  • The levy must be paid within 6 months after the building permit application date.
  • Once paid, we will email you a certificate to confirm payment. For private land, we work with Land Use Victoria to remove the s45 Notice from the land title.
  • Show your certificate to the building surveyor to demonstrate payment has been made. A building surveyor can’t issue a building permit unless this certificate is provided.

Please note, you can make staged payments - please see the information below.

Who needs to pay?

Landowner or approval holder

When does the levy need to be paid?

When you receive approval (or approval to a variation) of an extractive industry work plan under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.

What is the process?

  • Resources Victoria will notify the MSA team of approval via email.
  • The MSA team will email a levy assessment notice to:
    • the landowner, if on privately owned land
    • the approval holder, if on Crown land.
  • The levy must be paid within:
    • 3 months after approval is given, if on privately owned land
    • 6 months after approval is given, if on Crown land.
  • Once the levy liability has been paid, we will email you a certificate to confirm payment. For private land, we work with Land Use Victoria to remove the s45 Notice from the land title.

Please note, you can make staged payments - please see information below.

Who needs to pay?

Acquiring authority (such as the local council, Vic Roads or Melbourne Water).

When does the levy need to be paid?

When a certified plan of subdivision is sent to us under section 35 of the Subdivision Act 1988.

What is the process?

  • Please email the MSA team to advise us that your subdivision plan has been certified, including a shapefile of the acquired area.
  • We will email you a levy assessment notice.
  • The levy must be paid within 3 months after the subdivision plan is certified.
  • Once paid, we will email you a certificate and remove the s45 Notice from the land title in SPEAR.

Please note, you can make staged payments - please see information below.

Need help with SPEAR? Contact the SPEAR service desk.

Who needs to pay?

The person or organisation carrying out work.

When does the levy need to be paid?

  • When utility or road work (or part of a road or road infrastructure) on Crown land is completed.

What is the process?

Please note, you can make staged payments - please see information below.

Staged payment approval

How do I apply for a staged payment approval?

To apply for a staged payment approval:

  • Email our team with your staged payment approval application form.
  • We will notify you by email if your application is approved. Applications will be reviewed and approved when a levy event occurs.
  • Once approved, we will send you a levy assessment notice.
  • Please note that staging areas do not directly attract fees. Staging areas are used to proportion the payment of the remaining levy into “payment stages”. This happens until the entire levy is paid.

Can I vary the payment conditions?

Once you receive a staged payment approval, you can vary the conditions by:

  • Emailing the MSA team with your staged payment approval condition variation application form.
  • If approved, we will email you an approval letter and updated levy assessment notices (if required).

I have an existing staged obligations agreement (before 2020), do I need to do anything?

If you have a staged obligations agreement under the habitat compensation scheme made before 1 July 2020, it has been converted into a staged payment approval under Section 131 of the MSA Act.

Matted flax-lily

What are the levy prices?

Levy prices from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 are shown below. To work out your payment, visit MSA Levy Estimator.

Levy type

Rate per hectare from
1 July 2023

Native vegetation patch

$208,371

Scattered tree (per tree)

$28,963

Golden sun moth

$21,858

Growling grass frog

$9,603

Matted flax-lily

$12,803

Southern brown bandicoot

$4,906

Spiny rice-flower

$11,421

Failure to pay the MSA levy

What happens if I don't pay the MSA levy?

If you don’t pay the levy by the due date, you will pay additional interest (see Subdivision 1 of Division 5 of Part 4 of the MSA Act).

For the approved staged payment of levies, failure to pay for a stage by the due date can have serious consequences. If payment is not made, then the whole of the levy will become payable on the day after the payment was due (see sections 27(3)(f) and 34 of the Act.) Please make any application to vary your due date well ahead of time.

Can I make an objection?

If you’re not satisfied with a levy assessment, you can lodge an objection with the Secretary to DEECA (see Division 2 of the MSA Act). Please email your objection to the MSA, stating fully and in detail the grounds for the objection. If you are not satisfied with the Secretary's response, you can apply to VCAT.

MSA levy review

Every 5 years, the MSA levy amounts must be reviewed, as outlined in the MSA Act. The aim is to make sure that collected funds are enough to cover the costs of conservation work, without imposing unnecessary charges on developers.

The Minister for Environment commenced the first review on 1 July 2023 and a final report is due for public release by 31 December 2024. The MSA Act requires DEECA to publicly consult on a draft report for at least 90 days prior to the release of the final report.

Page last updated: 13/02/24