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Valuation reforms could lead to job losses and extra costs

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The State Government’s rushed plan to centralise all property valuations within the Valuer-General’s office will have a range of unintended impacts on councils, including potential job losses.

MAV President Cr Mary Lalios said the plan, which also includes moving from two-yearly to annual property valuations, was announced by the State Government with no consultation with councils.

Councils are currently responsible for property valuations in Victoria at a cost of $20 million to councils every second year.

“Centralising valuations within the Valuer-General’s office will have a range of serious impacts that don’t seem to have been considered by the State Government,” Cr Lalios said.

“Probably one of the most concerning impacts of the proposed reforms is the potential job losses for councils that currently employ qualified valuers.

"The lack of information coming from the State Government means councils can’t properly consult their valuations staff about the future – because they simply don’t know the details of the government’s plan. This is extremely unfair to council staff and their families.

“Councils have told us of a long list of other unintended impacts, including additional administration costs to upload data annually, incompatible software systems, lost revenue from the sale of valuation data, payout of existing contracts, higher prices to undertake council asset valuations – and the list goes on.

“Under rate capping councils are also more reliant on frequent supplementary valuations, particularly in areas undergoing development or growth.

“It is unlikely that the different supplementary valuation needs of each council could be met by the Valuer-General at a reasonable price, which could create a lag in council revenue.”

Cr Lalios said the reforms were particularly out of step with the needs of rural councils. Earlier this month the MAV State Council supported a call for small rural shires to move to a revaluation cycle every four years – a far cry from the annual model proposed by the State.

“Small rural shires have limited changes in property valuations, and moving to four-yearly valuations would save rural councils the equivalent of a 1 to 2 per cent rate increase. Those councils could reinvest that money back into local services or vital road upgrades.

“It is clear there are countless issues that arise from the State Government’s plan to centralise property valuations with the Valuer-General and to undertake them annually.

“Parliament should halt these reforms until the consequences are clearly understood and suitable solutions are identified to minimise the impacts facing communities,” she said.

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For further information, contact Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.