New land value system now law

FOR better or for worse, there is not much doubt that a new State Government property valuation system will ultimately affect everyone.

Tenants may find their rent varies, property owners will find their capital worth and costs, especially land tax and potentially, their council rates, are changed.

About 300 court cases over valuation disputes are now irrelevant and even real estate industry professionals admit, off the record, to being confused.

The new legislation, which passed, in heavily amended form through State Parliament last week, still has many in the industry trying to decode it, in terms of its likely practical effects.

However, in its final form, the new laws have found favour with the Local Government Association of Queensland and it is argued that they bring the Queensland property valuation system into line with that applying in other states.

LGAQ president Paul Bell said the new system, reintroduced to State Parliament on Tuesday of last week, would ensure that it was “good and balanced policy (serving) the interests of all Queenslanders.”

The organisation’s Executive Director Greg Hallam said yesterday the new system of “site valuation” varied from the old “unimproved valuation” system, because it included the value of generally invisible improvements to the land itself, including excavations and levelling.

Opposition MPs said this would help the government gouge extra land tax, by increasing the valuations on which it is calculated.

This would affect many shopping centre developments, in which the major investors were property trusts using the money of “mum and dad” superannuants.

However, Cr Bell said calamity has now been avoided because of government moves to protect councils from any liability to shopping centre owners, something which he said would have been a financial disaster for Queensland’s larger councils.

The new package would also provide $30 million in financial assistance for the resolution of outstanding land valuation cases, with 300 of them currently before the courts.

“The LGAQ has supported the use of site valuations for urban areas for over a decade. This brings Queensland into line with the rest of Australia in terms of valuation methodology,” he said.

Gympie MP David Gibson told Parliament the bill in its original form was unsupportable and had only been made workable because of the input of stakeholders and the Opposition.

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