Proposal for Rural Rates

Unimproved land values are used by Councils to calculate rates. With the recent release of land valuations by the Valuer-General across the Barcaldine Regional Council area, we have met to consider options for rating as part of our 2021-22 budget deliberations.

Unfortunately, the land valuation movements have not been consistent across the region.  With the exception of Aramac and Muttaburra, we have seen a reduction in residential land values. This means that more of our residential ratepayers will move onto a minimum general rate. Rural land values have moved upwards, with inconsistent increases seen across the council area ranging from 15% to 60%.

As it has been four years since the last land valuations were released in 2017, the variations in land values are greater than would be seen if the land was revalued annually.  Whilst individually you are no doubt aware of this, it is important to explain the impact that the variation will have on council rates going forward.

Taking a step back, following the council amalgamations in 2008, Barcaldine Regional Council moved all rural ratepayers to a standardised cents in the dollar rate, with actual rates payable based on the State Government determined unimproved value for each parcel of land. Whilst there is debate about the utilisation by the State of unimproved land values, this is the only mechanism Council can use to calculate rates.

Should you have a concern with your land valuation, this is a matter for you to engage directly with the Valuer-General through the established process for review/objection.

Given the variation, it has been difficult to undertake a uniform movement in rates. In previous years a rise to accommodate cost index increases has been felt uniformly in percentage terms across all rates notices. But with some properties increasing in value by 50%+ and others significantly less, then there won’t be a uniform rise if council is to ensure that it maintains its gross rate collection from rural land (and factors in a rise to accommodate cost pressures). In fact the average will only be a reflection of the difference between the rates that decrease in actual dollar terms and those that increase.

To assist with how this works I have included a sample of rate assessments for each area. This information includes the prior and new valuation, the percentage increase which that represents and the movement in actual dollars payable in rates under the proposal for next year when compared to the rates from last year.

To complicate matters, Council needs to consider the likelihood of successful objections, via the appeals processes, to valuations and the need therefore to refund rates in the future (as happened last time there was a revaluation).

Click here to view a table with every rate assessment and the impact of the proposed rate for 2021-2022. Please take the time to look at how the proposal will impact your situation. I stress that this is a proposal, released for public information and comment.

I wish to point out two facts that I believe are relevant. The lengthy period between valuations is the biggest contributor to the “shock” that this revaluation delivers.  Secondly, there is a disparity in values across our region, with different types of country appreciating at different rates to others. The diversity of our region will always deliver this differential, but if the valuations were more periodic than they have been, the adjustments to accommodate this would have been more consistent and less dramatic.

Please take the time to review the proposals and provide any feedback to myself or any of your Councillors. I and Council appreciate your consideration in this matter.

Mayor Sean Dillon


Published: 27th April 2021