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Changes to Valuation Laws

Radio Broadcast

John Darley, Advance SA MLC (5AA 9.34-9.45) John Darley’s two amendment bills to change the way retirement villages are valuated / Land tax and property valuations in the CBD

(Byner: There are lots of people living in retirement villages ... the way these properties are treated by Treasury or the Government, same thing really, are different in that there is still discrepancy between how retirement villages are assessed. I don’t understand why this could even happen, but it has. It means that some villages are being charged $300 per annum per unit more by way of additional SA Water fees than other villages. Now John Darley ... having been a Valuer-General ... how has this even happened?)

Well it shouldn’t have happened Leon ... there are about 18,000 individual living units within retirement villages in South Australia ... we understand approximately two thirds are affected by a situation that occurred in July 2015 where the Government changed their policy and shifted the responsibility for pensioner concessions from SA Water to the Department of Social Inclusion ... as a result of that the Valuer-General completely ignored that policy shift and so ended up with an inconsistent policy in terms of how ... they created assessments.

(Byner: Let’s go back a bit. Under what power did they ignore this?)

... well it was just a decision of the Valuer-General to completely ignore it ... so you’ve got this inconsistent policy whereby where you have multiple occupancy properties, like shops within a shopping centre ... flats on a single title, offices within a commercial office complex ... the Valuer-General has a policy to value the whole property as one and create one assessment, but what they did with these 12,000-odd units they created separate assessments for each unit which then incurred a separate supply charge ...

(Byner: So really it’s another tax, isn’t it?)

Oh yes ... there’s absolutely no legitimate reason why it should have been charged.

(Byner: Why has Rob Lucas allowed this to happen? He’s now the Treasurer, he can fix this.)

Yep, now Rob Lucas, the Government in particular, one of their election promises was to within six months of being elected they would set up a select committee of inquiry to look into this ... I understand that is under consideration at the present time, however a couple of weeks ago I introduced two bills into the Parliament which will fix it. One was an ‘Amendment to the Local Government Act’ that basically said Local Government whenever they apply a minimum rate ... for retirement villages it has to be one minimum rate for the whole village not for individual units. Now in November last year that bill passed the Upper House but it ran out of time because of prorogation. The other bill is an ‘Amendment to the Valuation of Land Act’ where the Valuer-General obviously didn’t understand the purpose of Section 16 of the Act and so ... I proposed to amend that to clarify that ... that will fix the job. Those two bills are in the Parliament right now and I’ve indicated that I’ll be calling those to a vote towards the end of the year.

(Byner: All right, now this is another one, this is really important. There was concern a while back that the same Valuer-General to which you refer has also come up with an idea to relook at properties and so-called improve the accuracy of valuations ... the way this has come about is that if that was to happen that some of the values in the city alone could double. Now I thought this was all going to be fixed when ... you and I had a conversation but in the budget papers it shows that land tax receipts are going to rise by $17 million. Wouldn’t that mean then that what you’re complaining about isn’t going to be fixed, yes or no?)

Well I’ve asked the question about that ... because the financial year before that occurs the Government’s promised to reduce land tax ... land tax reduces by $20 million and then in the following year it jumps up by 17. Now I had a briefing with the Valuer-General’s people on Friday and I’m more confused than ever as to what they’re doing, but what they proposed initially was they were suggesting that there was some difference in relativity between valuations, between certain properties.

(Byner: Can I cut this to the chase? What this was all along was an initiative to extract more money, right. That’s what this boils down to ... question is ... in fact stay on the line because I’ve got the Executive Director of the Property Council.)