Valuation of Land Amendment Bill

Posted on 16. Sep, 2009 in Speeches

I rise to speak in support of the bill. It is pleasing to note that the opposition supports the bill. There is no doubt that the Valuation of Land Amendment Bill 2009 is good public policy. This legislation will provide for greater information and transparency, the streamlining of administrative procedures and, importantly, options for those councils that struggle to complete valuations due to their resources or remote locations. As such, the bill is good for consumers and business and for the economic efficiency of the state.

The bill provides that councils may voluntarily transfer their responsibility for completing a valuation, including management of the valuation objection and appeal process, to the valuer-general. A council will be able to decide whether it or the valuer-general is to be responsible for completing a valuation at the commencement of each biennial — two-yearly — valuation cycle.

The cost of return of the valuation will still be met jointly by the state government and each municipality. In addition to the voluntary transfer by municipalities of responsibility for completing a valuation, amendments will be progressed to enable the valuer-general to become the custodian of statewide valuation data. This is very important. Although the valuer-general will become the statewide custodian of valuation data, councils will retain their right to use their own council data for their own purposes.

The bill is a good example of the strength of consultation. Prior to the introduction of legislation a discussion paper entitled ‘The future direction of rating authority valuations in Victoria’ was put out. The original proposal in that paper was for a fully centralised valuation system. It is interesting to note that while some councils supported this, it was opposed by others.

The provision in the bill allowing councils to decide at the commencement of each rating cycle whether they or the valuer-general will complete the valuation is a sensible way forward. It will ensure that those councils which need the support of a centralised system will receive it, especially in those rural areas where it is difficult to attract valuers on a competitive basis.

Interstate there is access to statewide databases, but in Victoria applications for information have had to be on a council-by-council basis because of the lack of centralisation. This has meant that individual members of the public have had to identify the specific council and businesses owning a number of properties and have had to lodge applications with a number of councils. It has also made statewide modelling of data difficult.

Making the valuer-general the holder of the information will provide for consistency of data and ease of access for consumers and business.
This will cut red tape and assist policy analysis. Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier, councils will still retain the right to use their own data. Also it should be stressed that the release of data will comply with information privacy requirements. I commend the bill to the house.

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