The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and partners Melbourne Water (MW) and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), are collaborating on the review of the Melbourne Urban Stormwater Institutional Arrangements (MUSIA).

MW and 38 councils across the Port Philip and Westernport region have legislated responsibilities for drainage (stormwater management) and flood management. Since 1927, these responsibilities have been split according to a convention known as the ‘60-ha (hectare) rule’. Councils manage stormwater assets and services for catchments smaller than 60.7 ha and MW looks after catchments larger than 60.7 ha.

Over time, the range of urban stormwater management assets and services undertaken by councils and MW has changed. The 60-ha rule was not intended to cover this broad range of assets and services, which has led to difficulty applying the convention today and the need for case-by-case assessment in many instances.

The MUSIA review has resulted in three shortlisted options to better delineate roles and responsibilities for public urban stormwater assets and services. In summary, the options are:

  • Option 1 - Delineation by catchment - Improved 60-ha: would allocate responsibilities based on a formalised and more clearly defined version of the existing convention.
  • Option 2 - Delineation by asset size and class: would categorise and allocate responsibilities for assets based on size (e.g. pipe diameter) or class (e.g. retarding basins and wetlands).
  • Option 3 - Delineation based on outcomes: would allocate responsibilities based on which organisation is best placed to manage the outcomes delivered by an asset or service.

Discussion paper

We have prepared a discussion paper that provides information about MUSIA and outlines the shortlisted options in more detail.

Read the paper:

MUSIA Discussion Paper (DOCX, 2.8 MB)

MUSIA Discussion Paper (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Please note: this discussion paper has been updated after initial publication, with updates to pages  3, 9, 10 and 12.

Engagement on the Discussion Paper has now closed. Over 6 weeks between June and August 2021 we engaged with stakeholders through a number of workshops, meetings and an online survey.

The MAV has undertaken a complementary engagement process with the 38 councils to discuss their views in more detail. Councils can access the MAV updates by visiting the MAV Members Website.

The responses from stakeholders will be summarised in a feedback report.

Updates will be provided by DELWP, the MAV and MW through their respective networks. Please use the contact portal on this page if you would like more information.

Next steps for MUSIA

  • Analysis of feedback and circulate feedback report
  • Project Working Group finalises the analysis and recommends an option
  • Consultation on the recommended option and proposed implementation steps
  • MUSIA Project Steering Committee makes a final recommendation to Minister(s)
  • Implementation plan completed.

MUSIA will not result in any new responsibilities, and hence will not result in additional funding. Once the recommended option is agreed, funding arrangements can be considered in more detail.

Background: about MUSIA

Vision and guiding principles

An integrated, catchment-based approach that strengthens collaboration and strategic planning of urban stormwater and floodplain management assets and services across management boundaries to achieve the most cost-effective outcomes for the community and environment.

A transparent framework for planning and managing stormwater with clear and agreed roles, responsibilities and funding arrangements for responsible partners.

Consistent, outcome-focused catchment management will increase local and system-wide performance and efficiency and improve agency capabilities to deliver the most effective social, economic and environmental outcomes.

A responsive and adaptable approach that can respond to emerging issues and innovation and supports diverse solutions and circumstances at a local and catchment wide scale.

Scope of MUSIA

  • Identify current roles and responsibilities for stormwater asset and service provision.
  • Consider the impact of emerging issues such as population growth, climate change, increasing development, urban densification, and water quality.
  • Describe the modern, forward-looking service level that the community should expect from the sector in the context of State integrated water management policy directions.
  • Identify the most efficient means and institutional arrangements to deliver that service level to the community.
  • Assess whether the 60ha catchment threshold continues to be a useful delineation and investigate new options that would best decide roles and responsibilities for stormwater management.
  • Address the most effective way of mandating those responsibilities so that there is clear line of sight from obligation to investment planning to on-ground service delivery.
  • Address arrangements for how the most efficient means of delivery of that service level is funded and articulate a transition plan.

MUSIA only includes the management of public assets and services. Private property management is out of scope.

Register your interest

Would you like to be notified of progress or find out more?

Page last updated: 11/08/21