Valuer-General rejects Ipswich council's 'fail' accusation

QUEENSLAND'S Valuer-General has rejected the council's call for fresh land valuations to be issued this year.

This week Ipswich City Council revealed it plans to lodge a formal complaint on the Valuer-General's decision to skip Ipswich in the 2018 valuations.

It means property owners' rates will be calculated using the valuations issued this year, where the average valuations went up by 12.6%.

Ipswich City Council says the lack of annual valuations impacts its budget and that its paying for annual valuations, regardless of whether they are issued each year.

Deputy Mayor Wayne Wendt said the council had previously informed the Valuer-General of the need to conduct annual valuations owing to rapid population growth.

He labelled the decision a "failure" on the Valuer-General's behalf.

"Importantly, ratepayers are sometimes exposed to large increases in valuations and this forces Council into an overly complicated rates structure, and a method of valuation averaging and rates capping," Cr Wendt said in a statement.

But the State Government's Valuer-General has hit back, saying the council has "wide ranging powers to manage rates".

Valuer-General Neil Bray rejected the council's assertion annual valuations are necessary saying his department's decision was based on evidence, investigation and analysis.

He said the decision was made in consultation with the council.

"Land valuations are based on the investigation and analysis of the actual sales evidence of recorded property transfers in Queensland," Mr Bray said.

"Registered valuers based in the State Valuation Service's Ipswich office thoroughly analyse movements in the local property market when preparing valuations each year and a number of audit processes, including digital mapping, are used to ensure the accuracy of valuations.

"The decision not to undertake a revaluation for the Ipswich City Council LGA was made following consultation with the council and an evaluation of the property market survey report, in accordance with the Land Valuation Act 2010.

"The property market survey report showed minimal movement across most market segments including the residential land values which form the majority of properties across the Ipswich City Council LGA."

Mr Bray also said, while the council contributes regular fees, that money covers other services including providing fortnightly reports and detailed reporting.

"Section 203 of the Land Valuation Act 2010 requires that these fees are payable annually regardless whether or not an annual valuation is undertaken for the council in a particular year," Mr Bray said.

He said councils have a range of tools at their disposal to manage rates including differential rating, setting a minimum rate, capping, and the averaging of valuations before rates are set.

Land valuations for Ipswich were issued in March and there were significant increases in some suburbs.

Overall, valuations increased by an average of 12.6% across the city since 2015.

To minimise the impact of residents, Ipswich City Council applied a new rating system in the 2017-2018 budget; it calculated rates based on an average between the two values from 2015 and 2017.

The valuations issued in March will remain effective for rating, land tax and state land rental purposes until the next valuation, which is likely to be in 2019.

Property valuations, 2017: Valuer-General's 2017 Property Market Movement Report
Property valuations, 2017: Valuer-General's 2017 Property Market Movement Report