by Guy Newel, AgForce Queensland
THE valuer-general this month released 507,000 new valuations in 22 council areas across Queensland.
In the south, affected areas include Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo, Quilpie, Bulloo, Goondiwindi and Toowoomba.
For rural landholders, the figures released are what are known as the 'unimproved value', which is the amount for which your land could be expected to sell for without physical improvements such as structures, fences, clearing, yards and water.
Unimproved values determine what council rates rural landholders pay and are also used to calculate leasehold rents, so it's important the figures are right.
Movements in valuations are highly variable, with a 10 to 30 per cent rise on average across Queensland this year and some individual properties in the Maranoa and Murweh shires increasing by 75 - 100 per cent.
The difficulty in using unimproved value as a basis for land rent and rates is that only a small portion of landholders in a market - the buyers - are setting the value for the rest.
This is despite the fact many primary producers living in council areas receiving new valuations are facing their sixth year of drought and can't afford big increases in land rent and rates.
I would encourage rural landholders who have received new valuations to check them using the Land Valuations Globe online and see how they compare to surrounding properties.
If you have your Valuation Property ID from your previous notice, the NRME Valuation website offers a search tool that gives you your old and new unimproved value and the percentage increase.
It is important to take the time to look at your unimproved values to ensure they are correct as there can be significant savings in correcting a value that is too high.
In addition, if the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has incorrectly estimated the country classification and the productivity capabilities (for example, carrying capacity) of your property, it could mean your unimproved value is wrong.
Your country classification can be obtained from your local DNRME office.
The latest valuation increases also highlight the need for perpetual lessees to consider freeholding their properties before both freeholding and leasehold rents become unaffordable.
AgForce believes this issue is so critical for our members that we are making our independent valuer John Moore available for free consultations in the affected regions. If you wish to object to a new valuation, you have 60 days - until 6 May 2018 - in which to do so.
We've also put together some frequently asked questions about valuations, which you can find on our website - www.agforceqld.org.au.
I'd encourage all rural landholders living in the council areas receiving new valuations this year to take the time to look at the figures for your property or properties, and contact AgForce on 32363100 if you would like to book a consultation.