Find out about the levies and what they are used for
Why do we have levies?
Whether we work, live or play in the region, the condition of our landscape is critical to our lifestyle. We all benefit from clean air, good quality water, healthy soils and vegetation in the Murraylands and Riverland region, and we also want future generations to enjoy the lifestyles and environment that the region provides now.
Our natural landscapes benefit everyone, which is why we contribute to a landscape levy.
What are the levies?
- The landscape levy – based on rateable property value, collected via council rates.
- The water levy – based on water licence and water allocation.
What are the levies used for?
The levies fund projects and activities that protect and enhance the region’s landscape for a sustainable future. This includes working with primary producers to achieve sustainable production and supporting efforts to protect and restore the environment. These activities include:
- working with landholders to sustain productive systems and reduce threats like weeds and pest animals, soil degradation and declining water quality and quantity
- managing water resources for the benefits of multiple users in a changing climate
- managing our biodiversity assets to improve resilience of ecosystems into the future, while achieving landscape scale ecological change
- supporting and encouraging people to manage their natural landscape through behavioural and generational change
- building increased understanding of the adaptive capacity of the region
- planning and evaluation for best practice and continuous improvement
More detailed information about these activities is available in the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board Business Plan 2023-24.
Why is there a difference in landscape levy rates between regions?
A strength of the Landscape SA reform model is that it focusses on what’s important to local communities. Landscape boards with community-based membership have been established, putting community at the heart of sustainably managing the state’s soil, water, pest plants and animals, and biodiversity. The landscape boards raise funds for the management of landscapes in each region through the levies. The Landscape South Australia Act provides different options for raising the levies and each landscape board makes its own decision about what is the best choice for them to set the levy.
In the Murraylands and Riverland region it was decided that the landscape levy would be based on capital value and the water levy would be based on allocation.
Why doesn’t a flat rate apply across the Murraylands and Riverland region?
We think a flat rate charge is a less fair way of asking people to pay than applying a rate based on capital value. Someone who owns a large parcel of land is gaining more direct benefits from the management of our landscapes compared to someone who owns a house block in an urban area. However, those who live in townships should also contribute towards the management of the landscapes that sustain their quality of life. It is a fairer and more equal system to base the landscape levy on property value.
Why does the council collect the landscape levy with their council rates?
Collection via council rates notices is the most efficient and cost-effective way to collect the landscape levy. This enables more money to be reinvested into important priorities across the region and back into our communities. Councils are reimbursed for the cost of collecting the landscape levy on behalf of the landscape boards.
How are the levies helping me?
The levies help us to look after our soil, water, air and natural landscapes, this benefits everyone. The levies fund many initiatives including support to volunteers, community small grants, environmental education to regional schools, advice relating to weed and pest control, sustainable farming, and land and water management. The levies are invested in local communities to take on the responsibility for looking after their environment and protecting natural resources. You are likely to know someone who’s benefiting from the levy investment, even if there is no direct investment on your property.
The levies also contribute to the employment of people who are members of the regional community and live, work and play locally. This investment into the regional community by supporting local jobs and services is often an overlooked benefit that is a critical contribution to a strong regional economy and social infrastructure.
Who makes the decisions about how the money is spent and how much the levies increase by?
The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is a community-based board made up of landholders with different business interests and skills. These people all pay the levies too. They work with the local community to determine what the landscape management priorities are and what the levy will be spent on.
Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board
Unit 5-6, Level 1 Sturt Centre, 2 Sturt Reserve Road, Murray Bridge SA 5253
08 8532 9100