Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart has requested a meeting with the state’s Resources Minister to call for changes to how land valuations are implemented.
It comes as the latest valuations for Noosa have seen many land values double in 12 months, causing a financial impact on ratepayers.
In Queensland, under the Local Government Act, councils calculate rates as a percentage of land values as assessed by the state’s valuer, the Valuer-General.
“If we simply feed the Valuer-General’s new valuations into our rating structure our ratepayers face average increases of around 44 per cent – before CPI – at a time when many in our community can ill-afford it,” Cr Stewart said.
“It’s not just owners of properties in the more expensive areas facing increases, it’s homeowners right across the shire who have seen their land valuations jump by more than 50 per cent.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Resources, which is led by Minister for Resources Scott Stewart, said the new valuations were needed because of changed housing needs and property market changes.
“The Valuer-General is empathetic to the rising costs of living,” they said.
“Valuations are just one of many factors councils use to determine levels of rates.
“Councils have wide-ranging powers to manage rates including differential rating, setting a minimum rate, rate capping and the averaging of valuations before rates are assessed.”
Cr Stewart said the new valuations, which are based on market conditions from October last year and take effect in July this year, did not reflect a recent softening of the market.
In response, the Department of Resources spokesperson said “any changes to the market after that date may be used for future land valuations”.
“It’s, however, very disappointing the state government opted to conduct land valuations in Noosa for the second consecutive year, rather than every three years, which is the usual process,” Cr Stewart said.
“After such significant increases last year, we requested the state not to put our shire’s property owners through this process again so soon, given the floods we experienced in 2022.
“Similarly, there seems to be little understanding as to why land valuations were conducted two years in a row for some councils and not for others. For example, Sunshine Coast Council did not incur a second consecutive valuation, whereas Gympie and Noosa Shire did.”
According to the Valuation of Land Act, which outlines the valuation process, every local government area must be revalued at least once every five years. The local government areas to be revalued each year is determined based on a range of criteria set out in the Act, such as market movement and time since last valuation.
The Department of Resources spokesperson said the 2023 land valuation program considered the length of time since the last valuation; LGAs with serious flooding effects from the February/March 2022 severe weather event; market movements in both rural and urban properties within the included LGA; and stakeholder consultation.
They said the Noosa local government since 2002 had been valued on 10 occasions: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023.
Cr Stewart said Noosa councillors were committed to keeping rate rises to a minimum through the budget process.
“To mitigate the flow-through of these latest valuations, like previous years, our staff will review our general rating structure and the rate in the dollar charged to properties,” she said.
“This will help moderate, where possible, the impact of valuation increases to ensure the outcome is as equitable and reasonable as possible across the shire in the face of varying valuation increases.
“We look forward to taking our case up with the Minister.”
Article source: Queensland Property Investor
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