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13 April, 2022

Assurance given on rates increase

LAND valuations in the Mareeba Shire have risen overall by 31.7 per cent, but Mareeba Shire Council has already moved to reassure ratepayers that the increase will not affect their general rates in this year’s Budget.

By Robyn Holmes

Land valuations are released by the Valuer- General who determines when and how often they are done, with Mareeba Shire not having new valuations since 2017. 

This time, 30 local government areas were done in Queensland, with Mareeba, Carpentaria, Cassowary Coast, Croydon, Douglas, and Etheridge covered in the latest figures. 

Some of the highest rises are in Carpentaria (335 per cent), Croydon (222 per cent), and Etheridge (192 per cent). 

A report on the State Government website has attributed the rise in valuations in Mareeba Shire to a strong demand for residential real estate and record low interest rates which has encouraged investment.

“There is continuing demand for premium quality arable lands, and with record commodity prices confidence has returned to the beef industry,” it said. 

“The primary production market has shown significant increases in the period since the last valuation was undertaken. 

“Changes to residential land values and property markets are based on strong interest from local and southern interstate buyers.” 

For Mareeba residential land, a median valued property has risen from $84,000 in 2017 to $103,000 – an increase of 22.6 per cent, while Mt Molloy has risen by 25 per cent and Biboohra by a whopping 39 per cent. 

The median value of rural residential land has risen from $185,000 to $225,000, a rise of 21.6 per cent. 

Valuations are used by local government to attach a value in the dollar for general rates, but councils can make decisions to “soften” the rise by capping rates or adjusting the rate in the dollar. 

Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin said while there had been a significant average increase of 31.7 per cent in valuations of properties, the average rate increase for residential ratepayers would only be in the order of 2.5 per cent. 

“Council is bound by legislation to use the valuations to calculate the general rates and whilst the valuations have gone up overall by 31.7 per cent, council undertakes a comprehensive analysis of valuation changes and reduces the cent in the dollar in each category so that the average revenue increase is 2.5 per cent,” Mayor Toppin said. 

“As the changes in valuation can vary significantly the percentage rate increase that individual landowners will vary from the average increase of 2.5 per cent, hence some landowners’ rates bill will increase more than 2.5 per cent and some will actually see a decrease.” 

AgForce is urging Queensland landholders not to delay if they want to object to the new land valuations – or risk being lumped with higher council rates and rent. 

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the time for landholders to speak up was now, with objections needing to be lodged with the Valuer-General by 30 May 2022. 

“Unimproved values determine what council rates rural landholders pay and are also used to calculate leasehold rents, so it’s important the figures are right,” Mr Guerin said. 

“In recent years, AgForce has assisted many members secure significant reductions in valuations, resulting in large savings, and once again we are ready to assist with our free workshops to help people assess their valuations and find out more about the objection process. 

“AgForce has also prepared a property map for each member property potentially affected by this year's valuations.” 

AgForce’s valuer John Moore said responsibility for ensuring values were correct lay with landowners, not local governments. 

“Unimproved values are done by mass appraisal, meaning your property isn’t individually valued so errors can occur,” Mr Moore said. 

“It’s important you object to your new valuation if you believe the unimproved value is too high, because it could result in large savings in rates or rent. 

“But you only have until the end of May to do so, so I urge landowners to begin the process today.” 

Landowners who disagree with their valuation and are able to provide supporting information can lodge their objection online or at the address shown at the top of their valuation notice. 

If landholders do not have internet access, they can call 1300 664 217 to request an objection kit. 

Specific information on market movements in the 30 local government areas revalued in 2022 can be found on the land valuations website. 

Residents can also visit the attaching the valuations at the Mareeba Shire office in Rankin Street.

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