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Councils look to Queensland for rates options

7 October 2004
File Reference No: Councils look to Queensland for rates options

South Australian Councils are looking to their counterparts in Queensland to understand the impact of tools such as rolling average valuation in protecting people from volatile annual property valuations.

This follows Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) Executive Director Greg Hallam view at today's opening day of the Local Government Association of SA's 'People-Prosperity-Place' conference that the use of annual capital valuations for rates in SA warranted extra tools to manage sudden valuation movements.

During his presentation entitled 'Asset Rich: Income Poor - The Future of PropertyTax with an Ageing Population', Mr Hallam said the flexibility of the Local Government Act in Queensland, where values had moved significantly in coastal areas in recent years, allowed the situation to be resolved more often than not by employing tools such as differential rating, rolling averaging or capping."

"While using rolling average valuations can take the hard edge off sudden increases in rates for properties that have had more than average valuation increases for the rating period, they alone are not the total solution," he said.

"Indeed, the Queensland experience tells us there is no simple, one-off fix. Rather, we need a comprehensive strategic local approach and a clear rate policy that allows us to use an array of tools to protect people from volatile annual property valuations."

South Australian Councils are considering a range of available options, among them rolling average valuations, to help smooth the volatile annual valuation of recent years.

COTA National Seniors SA Executive Director Ian Yates, who shared the platform with Mr Hallam, welcomed the LGA package to respond to concerns of those on fixed incomes and offered to work with Local Government to assist in "getting it right".

"We recognise the growing importance of Local Government and the services it provides to retired and elderly people. We look forward to working with LGA member councils and exploring all options, including deferral schemes, to find lasting and equitable solutions," he said.

The LGA Conference, at the Adelaide Convention Centre, ends tomorrow

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