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You must pay a levy on certain planning permit applications to accommodate Melbourne's rapid growth

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Melbourne is growing rapidly, with a projected population of up to 8 million by 2051. The scale of this expected growth requires strategic long-term planning under the guidance of the Victorian Planning Authority.

The metropolitan planning levy (MPL) is used to fund this authority and its Plan Melbourne initiative, a long-term strategy to accommodate Melbourne’s growth. Our role is to administer the levy under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act).

What is the levy?

You have to pay the levy if you want to apply for a planning permit to develop land in metropolitan Melbourne where the estimated cost of the development is more than the levy threshold.

If the estimated development cost is more than the threshold, you cannot lodge your planning permit application without a current MPL certificate. 

Estimated cost of development

The levy amount is calculated on the estimated cost of the development for which the planning permit is required. This cost is shown in the planning permit application form, which is also used by the responsible authority to calculate permit application fees.

If your application for a planning permit is to subdivide land, you need to pay the levy if the subdivision involves development works for which a planning permit is required and the costs of tdevelopment exceed the levy threshold. If there are works associated with the subdivision of land which do not require a planning permit, the costs of these works should be excluded from the estimated development costs for levy purposes. 

Read more about estimated development costs for land subdivision in Planning Practice Note 82 (Applying the Metropolitan Planning Levy), issued by the Minister for Planning in May 2016.

Levy thresholds

The metropolitan planning levy threshold for the 2018-19 financial year is $1,052,000. This is adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on 1 July each year. 

The levy does not apply to an application to amend a planning permit under s72 of the Act, even if the total estimated cost of the development allowed by the amended permit  is more than the current threshold.

Affected areas

The levy applies to an application for a planning permit to develop land in metropolitan Melbourne, comprising:

  • The area covered by the Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and Yarra Ranges planning schemes.
  • The area within the urban growth boundary in the Mitchell Planning Scheme.

Levy rates

The levy is $1.30 for every $1000 of the estimated development cost.

If the estimated cost is not a multiple of $1000, it will be rounded up or down to the nearest $1000, with the amount rounded up where the cost includes an amount of $500.

Example

The estimated cost of the development to which a permit application relates is $2,356,782. This is rounded up to $2,357,000 to calculate the levy:

$2,357,000 ÷ $1000 = $2357.

The metropolitan planning levy is:

($2357 x $1.30) = $3064.10.

Apply for a levy certificate

You apply for a levy certificate by submitting a metropolitan planning levy application with us. In your application, you need to tell us the estimated cost of the development and provide other information.

The application form tells you how much levy you need to pay based on the estimated development cost. When you submit your completed application, you must pay the levy by electronic funds transfer.

After we have received your payment and all the information we require, we issue you with a certificate stating the relevant information, including the estimated cost of the development.

Increased development cost

If your planning permit application requires a metropolitan planning levy certificate, your application will only be accepted if the estimated cost of development on your certificate is equal to or greater than that stated in your planning permit application.

If the estimated cost of the development increases after you have received your certificate but before you apply for your planning permit, and your certificate has not expired, you can apply for a revised metropolitan planning certificate and pay the additional levy amount.

This additional payment is calculated on the increase in the estimated development cost.

Example

The original estimated cost of the development to which a permit application relates is $2,356,782.

This is rounded up to $2,357,000 for calculating the levy:

$2,357,000 ÷ $1000 = $2357.

The metropolitan planning levy is ($2357 x $1.30) = $3064.10.

A month after the levy was paid and a certificate issued, but before the planning permit application was lodged, the estimated cost of the development increased by $200,000.

The additional amount of levy payable is:

($200,000 divided by $1000) x $1.30 = $260.

Revised certificate

You apply for a revised metropolitan planning levy certificate by submitting another application form telling us the increased estimated cost of the development, with other required information. You then pay the additional levy amount.

More about metropolitan planning levy certificates

Refund of the levy

You can only get a refund on the metropolitan planning levy if there has been a mathematical error in calculating the amount of the levy in relation to the estimated development cost detailed in the original or revised application. Other than that, we will not refund, either in whole or in part, the levy, including where:

  • The estimated cost of the development decreases.
  • You do not lodge your planning permit application.
  • Your application lapses, is refused or is withdrawn.
  • After applying for your planning permit, the threshold increases.
  • Your planning permit application is granted but subsequently cancelled.

Keeping records

You do not have to keep records for levy purposes, although you may want to keep a copy of your metropolitan planning levy certificate.

The planning or responsible authority must keep each certificate given to them for at least five years.

Your privacy

We must not disclose information obtained in relation to administering the levy unless it is:

  • With the consent of the person to whom the information relates.
  • In connection with the administration of the levy.
  • In accordance with a requirement imposed under another Act.
  • To someone, or another organisation authorised under legislation to receive it, for example the Secretary to the Department of Treasury and Finance, the Secretary to the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, a relevant responsible authority, a relevant planning authority, and a person prescribed to be an authorised recipient for the purposes of s96Y of the Act.
  • If the information will not, or is not likely to, identify a particular person.