The State Government has introduced a new levy for planning permit applications under changes to the Planning and Environment Act 1987.  The Metropolitan Planning Levy (MPL) will commence on 1 July 2015 and is required to be paid for planning permit applications in metropolitan Melbourne that have an estimated cost of development of $1 million and above.  This fee is collected by the State Revenue Office and is additional to the planning permit application fee.  The $1 million threshold will be indexed annually by CPI.

The levy will apply to all metropolitan municipalities including the rural areas of Cardinia, Casey, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Ranges.  The levy will also apply to land within the urban growth boundary in Mitchell Shire.

The MPL is $1.30 for every $1000 of the estimated cost of development, substantially increasing the fees associated with submitting a planning permit application.  The MPL must be paid after lodging an Application for MPL Certificate with the State Revenue Office and before the planning permit application is submitted to the responsible authority.  The levy certificate must be submitted to the responsible authority when the planning permit application is lodged.

We are concerned that this adds another step in the process and more planning process delays.  Surely there must be a better way of recording / checking levy payment electronically than the process proposed.

According to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website, the purpose of the levy is to “support the delivery of better state and metropolitan strategic planning“.  The levy will assist in funding the operations of the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA), including the implementation of Plan Melbourne.  If the funding from this new levy will not only support metropolitan Melbourne but also strategic planning for rural Victoria then we question why the levy is only payable for development applications in metropolitan Melbourne?

The MPL was announced in the 2014-2015 State Budget under the previous Coalition Government.  It appears that the MPL has been introduced without any discussions with the industry and with little information on exactly for what the additional funding will be used.

For further information about the levy, including how to lodge an Application for MPL Certificate, follow the link below.