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SACAT Fee Increases

Radio Broadcast

John Darley, MLC, Advance SA (5AA 9.45-9.50) Opposing SACAT’s proposed fee increases

(Byner: We’ve talked about the housing crisis in South Australia and we do have one, and this is that we’ve been selling off housing properties but the money has not gone into housing, that’s something that the current Government I believe is looking at very closely, but the other problem is … that those people who are mainly mums and dad investors who’ve got … one, two, or three properties to rent out have been very poorly treated by the system, the system that’s run by an organisation called SACAT, it used to be the Residential Tenancies Tribunal, the whole thing’s according to landlords a bit of a sham … John Darley … told us recently that they’re going to put their fees up substantially and he’s going to disallow it, John what’s the latest?) … first of all the regulation that I’m trying to disallow is the one, at the present time if you are concerned about the valuation of your property made by the Valuer General that’s used for rating and taxing purposes and you object to the Valuer General and your objection is disallowed you’d have the opportunity to go to SACAT … the South Australian Commercial and Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Whereas the cost of lodging an appeal there was originally … $71.50, by this new regulation it increases to $575. (Byner: That’s outrageous.) Well it’s ridiculous because … even if you received a 50% reduction in your valuation and in all my time as Valuer General I can’t recall anyone getting that sort of a reduction, you’d still be out of pocket by virtue of the rates and taxes you had to pay … that’s the reason I’m objecting to it. (Byner: So will you be able to successfully do that?) … I’ve briefed the leader of the Government in the Upper House and I think he understands the situation. I have to finish my comments next week because we’ve put in a request to the Valuer General about … eight weeks ago for information which is readily available but that wasn’t forthcoming and I understand now it’s held up in the Minister of Transport’s office for absolutely no reason because-- (Byner: What’s it got to do with him?) It’s got nothing to do with him … (Byner: Well why would he have it in his office?) Oh, I think this is a procedure … the Valuer General is an independent statutory officer responsible to Parliament … some Ministers, including this one, seems to think that they need to vet that information. It has got absolutely nothing to do with them … (Byner: … so you’re telling me, this affects a lot more people, that if you get a valuation that you don’t agree with they’re going to hit you with a fee of $500?) … if you want to appeal to SACAT the fee as it stands now, the fee will be $575 for a normal-- (Byner: You know what’s happened here, somebody in the bureaucracy has played funny buggers and has created a thing that you have to get to discourage you from complaining and getting a revaluation …) Absolutely … that is the issue … (Byner: Well then why would the Government tolerate that?) Well, they need to learn a few things I think … (Byner: Well yes they do.) … they’ve been there for seven or eight weeks, but they want to latch on to some of these things fairly quickly … (Byner: Who authorised this, do you know?) … the Minister … I’m not too sure which Minister it was … the regulations are promulgated by Ministers and departments … they table the regulations and it sits in the Chamber … (Byner: Was this from a previous Government or this one?) Oh yeah, it was from the previous Government. (Byner: Yeah … what a sneaky act … once upon a time if you didn’t agree … okay, a relatively small fee is one thing but putting it up to $500 that’s disgusting.) Well, 575 … (Byner: Nah, that smells … keep us in the loop on this … oh dear … this is the mischief that goes on in the bureaucracy and Ministers … sometimes they agree with it, sometimes they just blindly go with it but this is one of those clever little policy matters from the previous Government, nearly $600 to appeal when your valuation might be wrong … that’s pretty poor stuff … I’ll go to Mr Malinauskas on this … this is an error and it’s unfair.)