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Salinity Impact Charges - Review

The Victorian Government’s water strategy, Water for Victoria committed to reviewing the existing salinity management arrangements in the Mallee. The review included the removal of the 50-cent levy, a review of the salinity impact charges, investment in improved modelling of salinity impacts from irrigation and a review of the high impact zone annual use limit cap.

Visit the Engage Vic website to complete the survey about the review:

https://engage.vic.gov.au/review-salinity-impact-charges

What are Salinity Impact Charges?

The Salinity impact charges consist of two charges that have been adjusted in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each year; an ongoing annual charge and a one-off capital charge. These are based on the cost to build, operate and maintain a salt interception scheme. The charges are applied to the volume of Annual Use Limit (the maximum amount of water permitted to be applied to a parcel of land in one year) specified on each Water-Use Licence in a declared Salinity Impact Zone.

Under the proposed recommendations, the annual salinity impact charge is expected to decrease by 25 per cent of the current rate.

What are the current salinity impact charges?

Salinity impact charges are set out in the Ministerial Determination of Salinity Impact Zones and Salinity impact charges.
For the 2019/20 financial year the annual charge was $4.75/ML/yr.

While any new irrigation development commencing in 2019/20 would pay the capital charges of;

$37.87/ML in Low Impact Zone 1
$97.18/ML in Low Impact Zone 2
$194.41/ML in Low Impact Zone 3
$388.88/ML in Low Impact Zone 4

How have the charges, which have already been collected, been spent?

The charges have been used to mitigate and offset the salinity impact of irrigation development in the Nyah to South Australian Border region on the Murray River, consistent with Victoria’s obligations under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.

Examples of investment include:

  • irrigation incentives to assist irrigators to transition to efficient irrigation systems;
  • provision of irrigation management courses to promote irrigation best practice management;
  • ongoing monitoring of surface and groundwater; and,
  • research and investigation to improve understanding of salinity impacts such as the Mallee Crop Report