Veteran Ipswich councillor Paul Tully.
Veteran Ipswich councillor Paul Tully.

‘A joke’: Tully slams irregular land valuations

VETERAN Ipswich councillor Paul Tully has slammed the State Government for not providing the city with annual land valuations, labelling it a "joke", and denouncing the impact it has on ratepayers.

The council is paying more than $600,000 a year for the service.

Council CEO David Farmer will write to the Queensland Valuer-General to request revised valuations be undertaken for Ipswich on an annual basis, with "particular consideration" given to the city's fastest growing suburbs after a motion was moved unanimously by councillors.

Division 4 councillor Russell Milligan moved the motion.
Division 4 councillor Russell Milligan moved the motion.

Division 4 councillor Russell Milligan moved the motion at Thursday's ordinary meeting to address the issue.

A delegation consisting of Mayor Teresa Harding, Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle and another councillor to discuss the city's needs with the Valuer-General will also be arranged.

The council paid an annual fee of $637,000 to the Valuer-General in July last year.

"Since 2011, Ipswich City Council has only been provided with citywide revised land valuations every second year," Cr Milligan said.

"The last citywide revised land valuations were undertaken for the 2019-2020 year.

"Council has been advised by the Valuer-General's office that citywide revised land valuations will not be undertaken for the Ipswich City Council local government area for the 2021-2022 year.

"By June 2022 these land valuations will be three years old."

Landowners in 25 Queensland council areas will receive new land valuations in March, including the Somerset region, but Ipswich is not among them.

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The 2021 annual valuation program will involve about 261,000 properties across the state.

"In recent years the high growth areas of Ipswich such as Springfield Lakes, Augustine Heights, Ripley and South Ripley have experienced significant increases in their land valuations compared to average increases across the whole city," Cr Milligan said.

"Ipswich City Council utilises the provisions of valuation averaging and rate capping available to it under the Local Government Act 2009 to minimise the impact that these large valuation movements have on individual ratepayers.

"The provision of citywide revised land valuations, on an annual basis, by the Queensland Government would be a further step that would assist in moderating the impact of large land valuation increases for the ratepayers of the Ipswich community."

Cr Milligan asked chief financial officer Jeff Keech what impact irregular land valuations have on the city.

Mr Keech said the council has written previously to the State Government to request it be conducted annually.

"(The impact is) not so much the overall increase in Ipswich as a whole, it's the variation that happens across the city," Mr Keech said.

"This can be large increases in certain pockets and not large increases in others.

"The ability to deal with that with the current provisions just means you end up getting a lot of movement in your valuations and therefore potentially in the rates bills.

"Having an annual valuation means it will help you in trying to moderate those increases across the city."

Mr Farmer said the council paid for an annual evaluation but it was only done once every two years.

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He was unsure whether an annual valuation would simply double the council's bill from the State Government.

"The longer the evaluation gap the more likely you're going to get starker changes in valuations and there you'll get harsher movements in rates for the general community," he said.

"(There's) little to no financial impact (on the council) this is really in terms of your ratepayers."

A fired-up Cr Tully said it was a matter that had been dragging on for many years.

"Local government fought over 20 years ago to have annual valuations provided for in the legislation because of the uncertainties and the problems which have been raised," he said.

"Where we have the property market increasing you get a real dichotomy.

"Even if they're conducted every second or third year, they're still described legally in the (Valuation of Land Act) as an annual valuation.

"It's time local government really continues to stand up because we are paying for this.

"The community is paying for it.

"Most of the valuations which are done nowadays are desktop valuations based on the data which the Valuer-General already has.

"This is beyond comprehension. It's a joke."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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