The Parks Charge is collected once every year on behalf of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Funds raised go to Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance for the development, management and maintenance of metropolitan parks, gardens, trails, waterways, and zoos.
This charge has been included on the water, sewerage and drainage bills residential and commercial properties since 1958.
The charge is calculated by applying a rate to the Net Annual Value of the property. A minimum charge applies for the majority of ratepayers.
How is the charge different to the Melbourne Water Waterways Charge?
The Waterways Charge is collected by water authorities on behalf of Melbourne Water. Melbourne Water uses these funds to provide services to directly manage the health of waterways, streamside (riparian) vegetation, flood protection, and drainage services across the whole of the Port Phillip Bay Catchment.
Where does the money go?
The Melbourne Metropolitan Parks Charge is used to support parks, trails and public facilities across Melbourne, as well as Melbourne’s zoos, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance. This ensures that our world class network of large urban parks and trails is maintained and staffed for the enjoyment of future generations.
Why pay again for more than one property?
The charge is property-based and the owner of the property is liable to pay.
Why should a business pay?
- Like residential properties, businesses benefit from environmental improvements in the Melbourne region.
- Melbourne parks are tourist attractions which ultimately benefit many businesses.
- Businesses comprise of people who enjoy surrounding parkland.
How is the charge determined?
The valuation by local council determines the level of the charge. Most property owners pay the minimum charge that is currently $74.37.
Only properties valued by the Local Council over $334,000* will pay more than the minimum charge.
The charge increases periodically in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to meet additional costs associated with managing parks and bays services in the metropolitan area.
Do pensioners get a rebate on the parks charge?
State Government concessions are determined by the Department of Human Services and at present there is no concession on the Parks Charge.
The retail water companies provide extended payment options for their water bill charges.
What if I refuse to pay?
The retail water company that sends the bill is required to collect the full amount payable. (s.143 Water Industry Act 1994)
Water companies will implement debt recovery in accordance with their policies which can include restriction of water supply (if water service provided) and interest can be charged (s.140)
On sale of the property, all outstanding debt will be deducted as part of the settlement process.
Settlement of property
When a purchaser buys a property, they are obligated to compensate the vendor a ‘pro-rata' equivalent of all rates and charges paid in advance. This is included in the Statement of Adjustment at the settlement date.
Council Rates are based on Net Annual Valuation (NAV). The Parks Charge is based on the Net Annual Value determined by Council. Legislation dictates that 1990 property values are used.
The current legislated level is 0.445% of Net Annual Value with a minimum annual charge for 2016-17 is $74.37 per year.
The NAV is based on the Capital Improved Valuation (CIV) - the value of the property.
Council use the CIV in two different ways to calculate rate valuations for residential and commercial rates.
This is legislated to be 5% of Capital Improved Value (CIV). Effectively it means the Parks Charge is annually about one five thousandth or less of the property value.
This is more complicated. It is 5% or greater of the CIV, or council determined equivalent rent, adjusted for outgoings, whichever is greater. This means the valuations can best be understood by speaking to the valuations department of your local Council.
Land exempt from Parks Charge
- Land vested in the Crown, the Public Transport Corporation or the Minister administering the Education Act1958 and used for public purposes (ie:- this could be a public primary school/high school)
- Land that is not rateable under Section 154 of the Local Government Act 1989 (ie:- Local Council Park)
- Recreational lands within the meaning of the Cultural and Recreational Lands Act 1963
Why don't farms pay?
Farms often complement the purpose (open space values) of parks and reserves.
According to the Water Industry Act s.139 (6), non-residential, non-commercial and non-industrial land may be exempt. Effectively this means that agricultural land that is classified as a “farm” would be exempt. In the rural-urban fringe this is usually properties of 50 acres or more, although some intensive agricultural land has been classified as farm and therefore exempt from the Parks Charge by the water retail companies. Check with local council classifications.