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Need for fairness in rate method review

THE City of Swan’s rate method review could eventually result in a vineyard being rated UV while a hobby farm next door could be rated GRV, which no doubt has many ratepayers concerned.

But ratepayers could benefit by arming themselves with information from the Local Government Act 1995, which says the Minister will determine whether land is used predominantly for rural purposes (therefore the method of valuation is the unimproved value (UV) of the land) or where the land is used predominantly for non-rural purposes (therefore the method of valuation is the gross rental value (GRV) of the land).

In the 6.28 basis of rates section the Act says as land use changes from predominantly rural to predominantly non-rural, or from predominantly non-rural to predominantly rural, a new determination is necessary.

The legislation says the Minister will make a determination consistently with the key values of objectivity, fairness and equity, consistency, and transparency and administrative efficiency.

Specifically, it says the Minister will not determine a change in the method of valuation on the basis of an application under this policy unless the Minister is satisfied of certain matters, including fairness and equity.

“Unless the application is initiated by the land owner, the owner was informed in writing by the local government of the reason for seeking the change in method of valuation and the likely impact on the annual rates payable for that property,’’ section 6.28 said.

The land owner also has to be given at least 28 days after receiving that information to make a submission to the local government on whether the assessment of predominant use was correct.

The ratepayer’s submissions, if any, and the local government’s response to each ratepayer’s submission (as recorded in the minutes of the council meeting at which the response was adopted) had to also have been provided to the Minister before he or she would adopt a change in the in the method of valuation.

City of Swan acting chief executive officer Mark Bishop said the last review of all UV rated properties was in 2007.

Mr Bishop said assessing the predominant use of land was fundamental to determining the method of valuation to be used for rating purposes.

“Each property will be assessed on an individual basis in accordance with the DLGC guidelines.’’

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. The best part of her job was meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

One comment

  1. Ask yourself; why am I paying shire rates for empty paddocks?

    In my opinion property owners who have abandoned their vines, crops etc. and now see viticulture and horticulture as an unviable proposition should seriously consider changing to GRV and save $$$$.

    Similarly, horse enthusiasts who no longer keep horses for whatever reason should be doing the same. Change from UV to GRV and save $$$$.

    Case in point; I no longer keep horses given that we have been built out and it is far too dangerous to ride horses anymore. As a consequence, I changed from UV to GRV 3 years ago and I am saving approximately $1000 per year!!!

    It seems to me that all this palaver over this rate change is unfounded and property owners should realise that they will be much better off both in the short and long term by making this change.

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