2020 Reform – Proposed Dams Safety Levy

Legislative framework

The Dams Safety Act 2015 (the Act) and the Dams Safety Regulation 2019 (the regulation) commenced on 1 November 2019.

The regulation sets out the operational details for the Act, and safety standards that declared dam owners must comply with.

The regulation and standards are legislative requirements, and penalties apply to declared dam owners who do not comply with the requirements.

Proposed amendment to the regulation to introduce a dams safety levy

Dams Safety NSW proposes a change to the Dams Safety Regulation 2019 for consultation with declared dam owners in September and October 2020.

The proposal is to add a provision in the regulation to introduce a dams safety levy under section 41 of the Dams Safety Act 2015.

Declared dam owners would be required to pay the levy to meet Dams Safety NSW’s costs in administering the Act. The levy would be payable each year starting from 1 July 2021.

The proposed dams safety levy would be based on the consequence category of the dam.

Calculation of the levy

The levy payable would be calculated by reference to a levy unit, which, for the year commencing 1 July 2021, is proposed to be $5,050.

The number of levy units payable by the owner of a declared dam would be:

  • for a declared dam that is classified as being very low or low consequence: 1 levy unit
  • for a declared dam that is classified as significant consequence: 1.80 levy units
  • for a declared dam that is classified as high A, high B or high C consequence: 2.97 levy units
  • for a declared dam that is classified as extreme consequence: 3.35 levy units.

Reduced levy

Where the owner of a declared dam owns two or more dams, the owner would be eligible for a reduction of the levy as follows:

  1. The owner would pay the full levy for the highest consequence category dam owned or, if there are two dams that are equal highest consequence category, one of those dams,
  2. The owner would pay 70% of the levy for every other dam owned.

Analysis of funding model

Dams Safety NSW has worked closely with the Centre for International Economics on the detailed analysis of the proposed levy and funding model.  You can download a summary of the CIE Fact sheet on the proposed funding model for Dams Safety NSW and the CIE Dams Safety Levy – final public report.

Frequently asked questions

More information about the proposal to introduce a dams safety levy is provided in  Dams Safety Levy – Frequently asked questions

Consultation and feedback

A consultation period with declared dam owners about the proposed levy ended on 30 October 2020.

Dams Safety NSW held virtual information sessions and you can download the presentations from those sessions:

If you have any questions about the consultation please call 0409 784 535 or email us at communications@damsafety.nsw.gov.au.

Dams Safety NSW will publish a summary of submissions report once all feedback is consolidated. We will also publish a response to submissions once they are considered and a way forward is decided.