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Centralised property valuations to save council costs

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) believes the Victorian Government has listened to the many concerns of councils in reformulating its annual land valuation proposal, and has come up with a sensible solution to a complex problem.

Cr Mary Lalios, MAV President said the latest version of the State’s annual, centralised property valuation model was vastly improved from the initial proposal that was sprung on councils without consultation.

“The State is proposing to pay the full cost of annual property valuations, which will save councils around $8 - $10 million each year. This must be guaranteed in legislation to protect the arrangement from future cost shifting back to councils.

“Not all councils will be impacted equally by these reforms. Some councils currently use in-house valuation teams, while most councils either use private contractors or the Valuer-General to undertake their property valuations.

“The transition package on offer from the Government will assist councils to cover their administrative costs, and also help to retrain valuation staff.

“We understand that councils with in-house valuers will have the option to offer redundancies paid for by the State if redeployment of staff genuinely cannot be achieved.
“We’d also like a commitment from the Valuer-General that, where possible, valuations in rural and regional areas use the expertise of local contract valuers and support local economies, rather than Melbourne-based valuers,” she said.

Under the State’s revised reforms, councils will now pay the full cost of supplementary valuations, and will be able to opt-out of the Government’s centralised model until 2022.

Councils that opt-out will continue to contribute 50 per cent of the cost for existing biennial valuations, and the Government will consider transition assistance for these councils on a case-by-case basis.

Cr Lalios said the finer details of the reform would be closely monitored so unintended consequences, costs or transition issues could be identified early and suitable resolutions agreed with the State.

“The Treasurer and Valuer-General, and their senior staff, have listened to the impacts facing councils and the reforms have come a long way towards addressing the concerns of our sector.

“This is a complex reform process. We will be holding the Government to its commitment that local government will not be financially worse off as a consequence of moving to a centralised annual valuation model.

“We look forward to a collaborative approach continuing between State and local government to resolve any further transition issues as they arise,” she said.

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Contact: Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5521.