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Land valuation changes should be dumped

The Victorian Government is being asked to re-think it’s idea to instigate annual land valuations.

Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, believes the proposal announced in the 2017-18 State Budget was made without consultation or consideration of its real impact.

“This simply looks like another way for the Andrews Government to make more money more often.  It will hurt local government and rate payers,” Mr Ramsay said.

Property valuations are currently done every two years by a Local Government land valuer and the details provided to the State Revenue Office (SRO) to enable rates and land tax to be determined.

“Under this proposal, the valuations will be taken away from the council and conducted annually by the office of the Valuer General out of Melbourne.

“What this means is that it will cost Councils more – they will have to pay for the work to be done – and because they will not own the data – they will have to pay for that too,” said Mr Ramsay.

Some councils are indicating the valuation process changes could cost them up to $300,000 a year.

“Councils will need to find ways to pay for this.  However, annual valuations will also mean higher property values and ratepayers paying higher rates – councils will pocket this.

“But they still need to work within the two per cent rate cap  – which is forcing some rural and regional councils to look at ways to increase their intake, such as getting rid of farm rate differentials.

“It should also have them looking inwardly at measures to reduce costs.

“They seem somewhat reluctant to do this – despite 50 per cent of rates paying for council staff and administration.  CEO’s can get paid more than $300,000 a year, and some mayors up to $100,000.

The State Budget indicates that land tax will generate $2.225 billion this financial year – an increase of 22 per cent.

“The losers in all of this are not just the taxpayers themselves, but local councils who have been snubbed in this process by Daniel Andrews.

“Councils have not been told why the changes are happening.  As the current providers of valuation data to the State Revenue Office, you might think they would have been consulted?

“This is a messy, poorly considered change that will do nothing to help regional and rural councils.

“However, it will help pay for Daniel Andrews’ promises to unions and budget blowouts,” he said.