The Parks and Reserves Trust Account (PRTA) receives money collected from the Victorian Metropolitan Parks Improvement Rate, commonly known as the parks charge.

The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change makes allocations from the PRTA  to manage and acquire open space, parks, and waterways in metropolitan Melbourne for conservation, recreation, leisure, tourism, and navigation.

The Charge has been included on the water, sewerage and drainage bills of residential and commercial properties since 1958.

This funding 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.

Where is the PRTA’s revenue and expenditure information published?

DELWP’s Annual Report includes information on the department’s performance and achievements for each financial year. The last 2 DELWP Annual Reports confirmed that the PRTA’s revenue and expenditure were as follows:

Financial year

Total amount of collected parks charge revenue

Total amount spent on the management of open spaces, parks and waterways

PRTA’s closing cash balance


$191.20 million

$159.22 million

$181.26 million


$191.85 million

$165.98 million



What recent strategic projects has PRTA funded?

Name of entity or program



Relevant Media Release

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Works associated with the delivery of the Melbourne and Cranbourne gardens master plans

$8.520 million

More Support For Melbourne’s Beloved Green Spaces | Premier of Victoria

Parks Victoria

Remediation and construction works at the Gipps Street steps

$5.800 million

Refer to above media release which contains information on this project.

DELWP – Local Parks Program

Development of new dog parks in Victoria

$0.975 million

Dog Parks

Get Bark Of Approval In City’s South East | Premier of Victoria

What is the parks charge?

The Metropolitan Parks Improvement Rate, commonly known as the ‘parks charge’, is an annual levy on commercial and residential properties in the metropolitan Melbourne boundary.

The 3 metropolitan retail water corporations collect the parks charge on behalf of DELWP. The charge appears on each financial year’s first quarter water bill.

The parks charge has been included on the water, sewerage and drainage bills for residential and commercial properties since 1958.

The parks charge is calculated by applying the annual parks charge rate by the properties Net Annual Value (NAV) as determined by Council. Legislation dictates that 1990 property values are used when calculating the charge.

For 2020-21, the parks charge rate is 0.471% of NAV with a minimum annual charge of $79.02.

What activities are funded through the parks charge revenue?

The Water Industry Act 1994 (the Act) requires that money collected as part of the parks charge be spent controlling, developing, and managing open space, parks, waterways and bays within the Melbourne metropolitan area.

During the 2020-21 financial year, a total of $159.229 million was disbursed from the Parks and Reserves Trust Account (in 2019-20, $165.988 million was disbursed for the full financial year) for the following activities:

  • park management services in the metropolitan area, including managing bays, maintenance, and construction of park assets, including:
    • National and State parks
    • Zoological parks
    • State gardens
    • Shrine of Remembrance
  • purchase of public open space for conservation, recreation, leisure or tourism
  • management and maintenance of public beaches and renourishment works.

How is the PRTA governed?

Under the Act, the allocation of PRTA funds is determined by the Secretary of DELWP and approved by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The PRTA Governance Committee supports the Minister and Secretary.

What is eligible for PRTA funding?

As in the Act, payments from the fund must be:

  • for the management and control of open space, parks and waterways, within the metropolitan area, for the purposes of conservation, recreation, leisure, tourism and navigation
  • for the acquisition of land by the Crown in the metropolitan area for the purpose of conservation, recreation, leisure or tourism.

Contact us

Contact ​David Sheehan, Manager Governance Unit, Land Management Policy, for information about PRTA on 9637 9479.

Page last updated: 09/11/21