Tilkey part-owner Lyn Barnes is furious at the huge jump in her land valuations from $69,000 in 2006 to the current valuation of $340,000, expecting a large rates increase as a result.
Tilkey part-owner Lyn Barnes is furious at the huge jump in her land valuations from $69,000 in 2006 to the current valuation of $340,000, expecting a large rates increase as a result.

Shock at 500% land value rise

WHEN Tilkey part-owner Lyn Barnes opened her land valuations letter from the State Government this week, she got the shock of her life.

In 2006 the Tilkey land on the New England Highway was valued at $69,000. The latest valuation is $340,000, an increase of close to 500 per cent.

Ms Barnes said she let a silently-muttered expletive slip upon reading the valuation.

“It’s had increases – minor increases – but to jump from $69,000 to $340,000 is just astronomical,” she said.

Ms Barnes said she had resigned herself to the fact that the huge jump was more than likely going to have a hefty impact on her next rates notice in June.

She said the valuation was just another rise in a long line of cost increases to small and medium businesses in the past 12 months.

“I mean sure we expect increases, but this is a more-than-400 per cent increase in one go,” Ms Barnes said.

Southern Downs Regional Mayor Ron Bellingham said he had heard of other “spikes” like Ms Barnes’ across the region.

The latest round of unimproved land valuations, which are used in part to calculate council rates, shows our region’s overall average land value has increased by a whopping 45.29 per cent – thanks largely to an astronomical average increase of 102 per cent in Stanthorpe.

Cr Bellingham said the spikes would undoubtedly throw a spanner in the works with the change of the council ratings system, which will happen in the next three months.

“Clearly (Ms Barnes’) increase will have a significant impact on her rates,” he said.

“You do have to wonder how any valuation in the period of three years could vary by that amount and I think it draws significant criticism towards the system that we operate under.”

He said the change to the ratings system would be a huge challenge, but was thankful with the arrival of the land valuations that council finally had some real figures to deal with.

“I expect that the model will be either a straight differential ratings system or a hybrid system; that hasn’t been settled on yet ... under the circumstances I think there is very little alternative to go down that path (differential ratings),” he said.

Cr Bellingham said council was going to have to find extra money to pay for services and this would more than likely come from increased rates.

“We’ve still got to get the same amount of money plus inflation at least and the difficulty that we’re grappling with now is the abolition of some of the State Government funding has got to be replaced from somewhere,” he said.

“Either that or council has got to reduce services and step back and I don’t think that’s suitable for the community. The difficulty for council is to produce it at an affordable level, and of course, what is affordable for one is certainly not affordable for others.

“The reality is that many of us live under different circumstances and the anomalies that exist between the old council areas, those anomalies have got to be addressed.”

Cr Bellingham admitted there was likely to be voter backlash come 2012 if rates were to rise significantly in the process of introducing the new system.

“Without a doubt. People do not expect their taxes to rise by any significant amount but when we’re faced with a situation of virtually very little State Government funding ... it’s a very difficult path for a local government in any place in Queensland to go down,” he said.

“We’ve got essentially three months now – April, May and June – to formulate and bring together the model for a start and a budget at the same time and I do believe there will be significant losers and there may be a few who benefit from the changes.”

On average, unimproved residential land values in Warwick have increased 24 per cent to $84,000, 102 per cent in Stanthorpe to $74,000 and 39 per cent in Allora to $74,000. Killarney had nil movement to remain at $43,500.

Have you had a huge increase in your unimproved land valuation? Give us a call on 4660 1310 or email editor@warwickdailynews.com.au



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