Likely to be some surprises in rates notices in the Far North

The Queensland Valuer-General has released the land valuations (upon which Councils base their rates) for 2022, and they are likely to result in some rates surprises across the Far North when rates notices go out later this year.

Councils base the rates landowners pay on the Land Valuations as applied to a schedule of cents-in-the-dollar rates usually determined by ranges of property values (often with a minimum set for each range) and uses. All other things being equal when valuations go up by, say 10%, then the cents-in-the-dollar rate would be adjusted down by a similar amount so that total revenue accruing to the Council remains constant. In reality of course this is not the case as the Council will usually be increasing their total rates revenue at the same time. Nevertheless, it is generally true to say that the scale of the valuation increase does not determine the scale of the total rates increase across the Council area; just because valuations go up by 50% does not mean that rates payable for each ratepayer will also increase by 50% (this is a point that may be obvious to most but is a source of much confusion to many).

What is of vital importance is how much individual valuations move relative to others in the same Council area. If, on average, valuations in your Council are up by 10% but your own valuation has increased by 30% you can expect a rates increase of a greater scale than that felt by others (although this will not be 30%!). Likewise if your valuation fell while others rose your rates will likely be up less than others (although they may well not actually fall).

So, the fact that there have been some valuation changes within Far North Councils in certain areas that are very different from the averages in those Councils is likely to see some strange, and probably unexpected, moves in rates notices in the 2022/23 fiscal year.

Some examples;

Cairns Regional Council

Average valuation increase (since previous valuation in 2019) +14.9%

Residential average +14.5%; but properties in Babinda, Clifton Beach, Freshwater, Mirriwinni and Startford are up about twice that amount (+29.6-39.4%) while properties in Kanimbla, Mount Peter, Portsmith, Redlynch, Trinity Park and White Rock are up far less (+4.7-9.9%)

Rural Residential + 10.0%

Primary Production +46.2%

Cassowary Coast Regional Council

Average valuation increase (since previous valuation in 2020) +17.7%

Residential average +17.7%; but properties in Hull Heads, Japoonvale, Mighell, Mourilyan, Mundoo, Munro Plains, Murray Upper, Rockingham, S Johnstone and S Mission Beach are up about twice that amount (+37.5-64.0%) while properties in Kennedy, Midgenoo, Ellerbeck, El Arish, Carruchan, Bilyana, Sandy Pocket, Silkwood and Tully are not up at all.

Rural Residential + 21.6%

Primary Production +9.5%

Douglas Shire Council

Average valuation increase (since previous valuation in 2018) +19.5%

Residential average +28.6%; but properties in Bonnie Doon, Cooya Beach and Wangetti are up substantially more (+35.7-41.4%) while properties in Cassowary, Diwan, Mossman, Mowbray, Oak Beach, Rocky Point and Whyanbeel are up a lot less, in the case of Oak Beach actually down, (-10.6% – +10.0%).

Rural Residential + 16.1%

Primary Production +1.7%

Mareeba Shire Council

Average valuation increase (since previous valuation in 2017) +31.7%

Residential average +21.9%; but properties in Almaden, Biboohra, Mount Carbine and Paddys Green are up substantially more (+39.0-140.7%) while properties in Chillagoe, Dimbulah, Koah, Kuranda and Watsonville are up a lot less, in the case of Chillagoe actually down, (-14.5% – +9.8%).

Rural Residential + 21.6%

Primary Production +83.3%

Responses

  1. Mark Beath says:

    April 2nd, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Cairns Council valuation increases in the southern rural fringe around Babinda and Mirriwinni will still leave them well below the minimum rate threshold. Increases will be around the more affluent suburbs such as the beaches. Council cost base index will be something to watch in current environment. Back around 2008 councils used/abused the valuation increase as an excuse to raise rates. Campbell Newman in Brisbane was a particular culprit here.

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