A recent surge in the value of Queensland farmland has prompted the agricultural industry and academics to change the way council rates and state government rents are calculated for farmers.
- The Queensland government assessed 25 counties this month, with three of them increasing by more than 100%
- Unimproved property assessments are used as a marker for council rates and state government land rent
- Charters Towers regional council deputy mayor Sonia Bennetto says there are no plans to increase rates significantly despite reviews
Earlier this month, the Queensland Valer-General released new land values for 25 counties in the state, reflecting large increases in farmland – three counties in the west having seen their values increase by more than 100% .
With the values used as a guide for local council rates and state government rent, pressure groups such as AgForce and individual growers have already started campaigning to ensure fees don’t go up. arrow.
Professor John Rolfe of Central Queensland University said the system is down and not rewarding growers who use less of the infrastructure they are paying for.
“Companies that rely more on public assets like roads and infrastructure, they pay the exact same rates as someone who has had a very light touch on their land,” Prof. Rolfe said.
“You have a big company that can truck a lot of cattle from another farm, so they have a much bigger impact on the roads than a small producer who can raise them, fatten them up and haul them through. truck to market. “
Municipal rates and land rents are based on unimproved property assessments, which aim to provide the value of each property if there were no improvements like roads, water, fences, and houses.
“The ways to look at it are either to come up with a different scoring base based on the activity or, in some cases, special scoring activities where there are major impacts on the infrastructure.”
The board does not pass on rate increases
In North Queensland, the Charters Towers regional council had planned to adjust its tariffs to ensure that producers don’t face higher fees, despite a 96% increase in values.
Deputy Mayor Sonia Bennetto said the possibility of increased rents for leasehold landlords in the area was not good news.
“The drought followed by the impacts of the monsoon where they had significant losses of livestock and are now trying to rebuild their herds.”
Cr Bennetto said there were fears that a series of farmland acquisitions by the Defense Forces had skewed valuations, with the department paying above market price.
But a spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Resources said those sales were not taken into account in the latest round of assessments.
“State Valuation Service assessors working at Charters Towers were aware of Defense land acquisitions in the region,” he said.
“These sales, however, were not used to determine the valuations of properties in the locality.”
Industry demands scrutiny of valuations
Despite calls to change the system, industry-leading AgForce has asked landowners to recheck their assessments to make sure they’re not paying more in fees than they should.
Agforce assessor John Moore said it was the responsibility of landowners to ensure the information was correct before the objection filing deadline at the end of May.
“Agforce will help its members through this process.
“We will organize various webinars and face to face meetings as needed. “