Introduction and First Reading
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (16:38): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Valuation of Land Act 1971. Read a first time.
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (16:39): I move: That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill proposes to make two changes to the Valuation of Land Act. The first is with respect to section 16 with the purpose to clarify circumstances under which section 16 was introduced and is meant to be used. Section 16 of the Valuation of Land Act was last amended in 1976 following a judgement by His Honour Mr Justice Wells in Harry v The Valuer-General. The Hansard at that time read: In the judgment His Honour placed a rather restrictive interpretation upon section 16 of the principal Act which empowers the Valuer-General, in his discretion, to make separate valuations of any portion of any land, or to value land conjointly with other land. It is necessary for the Valuer-General to exercise his power to make a separate valuation of portion of a larger holding (a) where the land is under separate occupation and (b) in cases, such as those arising in the South-Eastern Drainage Act, where the Valuer-General may have to make a valuation of a proportion of land notwithstanding that it does not form a separate holding.
Having been around in 1971 and been valuer-general from 1982 to 1992, I understood that section 16 of the act was predominantly inserted to account for situations which occurred along the River Murray whereby farmers leased part of the land to others on leases ranging from 40 to 1,000 years to establish shack sites. Without a separate valuation, the land owner continued to have to pay rates and land tax on portions of land which was under a lease agreement and separately occupied. By creating a separate valuation, rating agencies, such as councils and RevenueSA, then had the information needed to produce separate rate notices for lessees.
It has come to my attention that the Valuer-General is now creating separate valuations in a number of other circumstances which are beyond the original intention of the section. My amendment seeks to clarify that separate assessments should only be made in circumstances where it is required by law or has been separately occupied since 1967 or under a shack site lease and is situated on land where formal subdivision is prohibited.
The second part of my bill is to amend section 19 of the act, which relates to amendments to the valuation roll. Section 19 outlines that the Valuer-General must amend the valuation roll if there is an error or if there is a change of ownership; however, if the Valuer-General is aware that a valuation is inconsistent with other valuations, they are able to use discretionary powers to decide if the valuation roll should be amended or not.
I cannot understand under what circumstances the Valuer-General would choose to allow inconsistent valuations, relative to other comparable properties, to remain so on the role. It is bad practice and can lead to rating inequities for people living in very similar properties. As such, my amendment will stipulate that the Valuer-General must change the valuation roll if they are aware that a valuation is inconsistent with valuations of other relative properties on the roll. I commend the bill to the house.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. D.G.E. Hood.