We all benefit from natural resources in our region.
Whether it is fishing, four-wheel driving on the weekends, living on the land, working in the forest industry, cooking with local produce or simply enjoying the beautiful landscape, the condition of our natural resources underpins our lifestyle.
Our natural resources benefit everyone, which is why we contribute to a natural resources management (NRM) levy.
What are the NRM levies?
There are two types of levy. All ratepayers will see an amount on their council rates notice that contributes directly to managing natural resources. This is known as the NRM land levy and local councils collect this on behalf of the South East (SE) NRM Board.
Those who have a water allocation for irrigation or industrial use will also pay a water levy, through a separate notice. If you do not have a water licence, you do not pay this levy.
Part of the role of the SE NRM Board is to determine the priority NRM issues to address in the region and how to fund them. These decisions are made in line with the Regional NRM Plan, which is developed by the Board in collaboration with our partners and the community. The funding from the NRM levies is invested on all of the NRM priorities, so money collected through the water levy is not necessarily spent directly on only water related projects.
How have the NRM levies changed?
The Board proposed in its draft Business Plan that the NRM land levy be based on the capital value of land. The Board received strong feedback that the community did not support this proposal and in response the Board decided on an alternative basis for the land levy based on a fixed charge per land use category. This method better aligns the levy with a ‘beneficiary pays’ principle than the flat rate for all properties (e.g. those landholders that receive greater NRM benefits pay more).
The NRM water levy has changed from a rate per ML of allocation, to a $200 fixed charge plus a reduced rate per ML of allocation. This method means that all licence holders will contribute to the cost of administering their licence.
More information about how the levies have changed, including NRM levy rates and why the levies have increased are provided in this fact sheet .
Indicative 2016/17 NRM land levy rates per land use purpose
|Purpose of Use Category
||Indicative NRM land levy rate per rateable property for 2016/171
Residential, Vacant & Other
| Primary Production
1 The levy rates per rateable property are indicative values only; the rates charged depend upon the rebates and remissions applied by councils.
What do we get from the NRM levy?
NRM levy funds are invested in a work program that is implemented for the SE NRM Board by Natural Resources South East. Some of the key initiatives in the work program are assisting landholders to meet their responsibilities to control pest plants and pest animals, planning with the community to ensure that natural resources are sustained for use and enjoyment in the future, providing NRM education in schools, and working with landholders to improve their management of land.
The NRM levies also help the Board to attract $2.2 million in federal funding to deliver programs that achieve sustainable agriculture and environmental outcomes. These programs include working to conserve and restore remnant habitats, and assisting landholders to protect native vegetation and better manage pests and soils.
Download our Highlights and Stories 2014-2015 to see some of the great outcomes from NRM Levy investment in the region.
Business Plan 2016/17-2018/19
The Business Plan 2016/17-2018/19 has been adopted by the Minister.
The SE NRM Board prepared this Business Plan to raise additional income from NRM levies to contribute to State Water Planning and Management costs, and meet increased costs for Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources services to deliver the Board’s work program.
For more information on Water Planning and Management costs download the factsheet .
The Board listened to feedback
The SE NRM Board received significant feedback through its community consultation on the draft Business Plan. Most submissions opposed the increases in the NRM levies and there was significant opposition to the proposal of a NRM land levy based on the capital value of land.
The Board responded to this feedback by proposing an alternative method for raising the land levy that uses a flat rate based on the purpose for which the land is used. This method reflects that some landowners receive greater NRM benefits from the levy dollars spent, but reduces the impact on those landowners that are asset rich and income poor. The categories proposed to be used to differentiate the purpose of use of land are residential, vacant land, commercial, industrial and primary production.
To reduce the impact on levy payers, the Board reduced its work program by 10.8% (decreasing the overall amount required to be raised through NRM levies by $530,000).
For more information on the changes, download the fact sheet .