By CAITLIN CROWLEY
LAND valuations in several key farming areas of country Queensland have surged by up to 178% on the back of improved confidence in the sector and favourable seasonal conditions, but the hikes could also see farmers slugged with higher council rates and leasehold fees.
Agforce valuer John Moore told the Caller the new valuations had already generated a lot of inquiries from members, since their release just over a week ago.
“Where it’s going to hurt people the most is where people have leasehold country,” Moore said. “It’s a concern that the leasehold rents are going to rise.
“Unimproved values are done by mass appraisal, meaning your property isn’t individually valued so errors can occur.
“It’s important you object to your new valuation if you believe the unimproved value is too high, because it could result in large savings in rates or rent.”
Just over 800,000 landowners across 24 local government areas (LGAs) received new valuations including residents in the Balonne, Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Cloncurry, Maranoa and Western and Southern Downs council areas.
Land values in Cloncurry saw the most dramatic rise, up 178% overall since the last valuation three years ago.
Balonne Shire wasn’t far behind with valuations up 90% while the Maranoa saw an 85% increase.
Queensland’s Valuer-General Laura Dietrich said the valuations were the result of extensive research and analysis.
“Primary production land values in the western rural areas have shown significant increases in land values since their last revaluation date,” Dietrich said.
She identified several factors which influenced those values including confidence in the rural sector, strong beef and commodity prices coupled with low interest rates at the time of revaluation last year and improved seasonal conditions.
The Valuer-General found rural properties have been selling for record high prices, with family operations and corporates seeking scale and producers looking to expand herds.
John Moore said he expected the change in valuations to be a catalyst for those with a Grazing Homestead Perpetual Lease (GHPL) to convert to freehold.
“It’s worth considering because the rents will rise,” Moore said.
Agforce President Georgie Somerset also encouraged people to check their valuations closely and identify if there were opportunities to lodge an objection.
“One of the flow on impacts of the increase in the value of land across Queensland is that local government rates have now become a much more significant fixed cost in farm operations,” Somerset said.
“I am aware of some landholders who have saved considerable sums of money on their local government rate bills by successfully objecting to an incorrect valuation,” Maranoa MP Ann Leahy said.
Property owners only have until May 16 to lodge an objection.
The date of revaluation was October 1, 2022 with valuations taking effect from June 30, 2023.