30 May 2018
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (15:00): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Treasurer, or the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, questions regarding the Valuer-General.
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In the 2016-17 budget papers, the Valuer-General was provided with $15.4 million over the forward estimates to commence a five-year rolling revaluation program. This five-year program will involve the Valuer-General adjusting valuations for a fifth of the state every year. My questions are:
1. Given section 19(3) of the Valuation of Land Act requires that valuations have to be consistent or relative across the state, how will relativity be ensured if one-fifth of the state is to be valued each year for five years?
2. Does the Marshall government intend to proceed with this ill-conceived project?
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:01): I thank the honourable member for his question. This is an issue that the honourable member has had a long and abiding interest in over a period of time. He has pursued it through budget and finance committees, questions of the former government in this house and by way of personal meetings with ministers and statutory office holders.
I shall refer the honourable member's question in its detail to my ministerial colleague the Hon. Stephan Knoll, who is in the process of taking the responsibilities of the Valuer-General's office from my department, Treasury, in the machinery of government changes. Under the former administration, the Valuer-General's office was attached—if that is the right word—to the Treasury portfolio, but under the machinery of government changes it is being transferred to minister Knoll; therefore, I will refer the honourable member's question there.
Because I have had some involvement and discussion with the honourable member, what I can say, and put on the public record, is that, as the member would probably understand, this five-year plan is supposedly two years in; that is, it was to commence in 2016-17 and we are almost at the end of 2017-18.
The funding of $15 point whatever million that the member quoted was provided by the former government for a five-year plan, and we are supposedly two years into that particular plan. So the prospect of being able to unravel the former government's initiative in relation to this would be a challenge indeed, if that was to be the position of the new government, given that we are two years into the rollout of that particular plan. In terms of the detail, which I am sure the member would prefer rather than my general responses, I shall refer the honourable member's question to the Hon. Stephan Knoll.
Answer to Question
4 July 2018
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer): The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government has advised:
1. As outlined in the 2016-17 Budget Measures Statement the Valuer-General did receive $15.45 million over the forward estimates as additional support to improve valuation accuracy, which is referred to as the revaluation initiative, but this initiative is not about commencing a five-year rolling revaluation program, where one-fifth of the state is to be valued each year for five years.
Rather, the Valuer-General will still continue to undertake general valuations for rating and taxing purposes for each of the areas of the state as required, and the valuation project work associated with this revaluation initiative will not be undertaken in isolation to the regular annual general valuation process. This way the whole state will continue to be revalued on an annual basis during the life of the revaluation initiative, avoiding the relativity issues between valuations that would be created if only one-fifth of the state was valued each year for five years.
Even if this was not the case, section 19(3) of the Valuation of Land Act 1971 (the act) relates only to a discretion the Valuer-General may exercise to amend a valuation that is not consistent, or relative, with other valuations in force. The section does not direct how the Valuer-General is to approach the general valuation task across the state, and is designed not to prevent the Valuer-General from meeting the intent of the act for them to provide regular and accurate valuations to the rating and taxing authorities.
Relativity between valuations is important from a fairness perspective, and the Deputy Valuer-General is aware of this, but where these issues may exist on the various valuation rolls across the state, the issue is also best addressed through improving the accuracy of valuations, which the revaluation initiative is designed to do.
2. The revaluation initiative was incorporated into the commercialisation process for land services, and as part of the purchase price there are contractual arrangements for Land Services SA, the new service provider, to undertake the valuation services associated with the project. As a consequence the project will continue, and work will occur in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, with the completion date for the initiative remaining unaltered.
The work undertaken by Land Services SA will be under the governance of a steering committee chaired by the Valuer-General. So the Valuer-General will have oversight and control of the work that is undertaken, in particular, the quality of the work and the valuations that are determined.
The communication plan associated with the initiative is designed to make the process as transparent as possible, and to keep stakeholders informed of what valuation changes will occur.