From 1 July 2015, a new Metropolitan Planning Levy (MPL) has been imposed in metropolitan Melbourne, requiring a levy payment prior to the making of a planning permit application with an estimated development cost above $1 million.

The MPL imposes a further impost to developers already contending with a number of State property taxes, including land tax, land transfer duty and developer contributions.

The MPL was introduced through the Building a Better Victoria (State Tax and Other Legislation Amendment) Act 2014 which among other things, amended the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to implement the levy.

The MPL is payable at a rate of $1.30 for every $1,000 of the estimated cost of development and will apply to all planning applications for development that exceed $1 million in estimated costs and are located in the metropolitan Melbourne area, defined as:

  1. 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; and
  2. the area within the urban growth boundary in the Mitchell Planning Scheme.

On full payment of the MPL, the Commissioner of State Revenue will issue an MPL Certificate to the applicant, which is valid for 90 days and must accompany the planning permit application.

Importantly, the only circumstance in which a refund of the MPL will be available is where the MPL has been incorrectly calculated as a result of a mathematical error. No refund entitlement will exist in circumstances where an MPL Certificate is obtained but the developer does not subsequently lodge an application for a planning permit, or an application is lodged but a planning permit is not granted.