- On 23 August 2023, the Minister for Resources introduced the Land Valuation Amendment Bill 2023 into Queensland Parliament
- The Bill amends the Land Valuation Act 2010 and proposes changes to the administration and operation of statutory land valuation
Who will be affected if this Bill becomes law?
- The Land Valuation Amendment Bill 2023 (Qld) affects all landowners paying rates and property taxes.
- Two key components of the Bill are to:
- allow the Valuer-General (VG) to make statutory guidelines to provide direction to registered valuers on processes, practices and considerations to be applied in preparing statutory land valuations
- improve the objections process including by removing the quantum threshold for when the VG must offer an objection conference – the idea being that they use the most appropriate mechanism to resolve an objection.
What does this Bill do and how will it affect property owners?
- The Bill will empower the VG to set binding Guidelines for valuing properties (section 6(9) of the Bill).
- The Guidelines are intended to ensure consistency in decision-making and establish consistent state-wide valuation practices for complex property types, such as volumetric lots, shopping centres, land affected by heritage restrictions, and childcare centres, where appropriate.
- There is not a lot of detail about the intended Guidelines, how they will operate and when they will apply – this is all important information.
- The Guidelines do not appear to be required to reflect current industry practice, valuations standards or the legal approach to valuations. They can be prepared in a way to maximise land values (which will affect the level of rates and property taxes paid in relation to the property).
- The Guidelines will be binding on the VG, property owners and arguably the Land Court. This will curtail property owners’ abilities to effectively object to an onerous valuation. For example, the explanatory notes provide that if the Guidelines mandate a particular valuation methodology for a particular property type, this will limit the grounds of potential objections and appeals to considering the issue of whether the Guidelines have been properly applied.
- The Guidelines may be relevant to the Land Court’s assessment (in any appeal) of a valuation.
- The Guidelines are not limited to specific matters in the Land Valuation Act 2010 (Qld) but can affect any valuation required to be made under the Act.
- The Bill proposes to change the content of an objection.
- Currently, a landowner who objects to a valuation must advise the VG of the valuation sought where the original valuation is more than $750,000.
- The Bill proposes to remove the $750,000 threshold and requires all landowners to state the valuation sought in their objection. Under the Bill, any objection will need to include: (1) the valuation sought for the land; (2) at least 1 ground of objection to the valuation; and (3) in relation to each ground of objection, the information the landowner relies on to establish the ground.
- Practically, this is likely to involve landowners providing an alternative valuation. This will increase the cost of any objection as it practically requires:
- a professional valuation be obtained which deals with the grounds of objection
- that valuation set out the analysis of how any information, which a landowner proposes to rely upon, affects the valuation.
- Currently, the VG may invite a landowner to participate in an objection conference if an objection has been properly made and the valuation is at least $5 million. The Bill proposes to remove the $5 million threshold. The objector can accept or reject the invitation from VG to participate in the objection conference. Any information provided before an objection conference or required by the chairperson for a conference is admissible in further proceedings. The idea is that objections may be resolved at the conference; however, the risk is that this may prevent frank and open discussions at the conference seeking a resolution to the dispute.
What should property owners do?
- Submissions on the Bill closes at 4.00 pm on 21 September 2023. You should consider lodging a submission online (link) on the following basis:
- The Guidelines should not be binding. They should be non-binding guidelines setting out the basis on which the VG determines valuation matters thereby preserving the Land Court’s role in determining land values on appeal.
- The objection process should require an alternate valuation be provided only where the amount is dispute exceeds a nominated sum.
- Any information disclosed for objection conferences must be disclosed on a without prejudice basis and remain inadmissible in any proceedings.
- You should consider contacting your local member of parliament and pass on your objections to the proposals in the Bill. This can be done by finding your local MP’s contact details here.
© Cooper Grace Ward. This document was prepared in September 2023. It contains information of a general nature and is not legal advice. Please obtain advice specific to your circumstances and do not rely on this as legal advice.