SOUTH Gippsland Shire’s coastal landowners are facing a major hike in their municipal rates bills this year following a substantial rise in the value of their properties over the course of a single year.
Property values in beachside, rural and regional Australia have generally shot up, largely due to greater COVID-19-driven demand and low interest rates.
While the average valuation of land throughout South Gippsland Shire increased by 36.99 per cent in the 12 months to January 1, 2022, the worth of many properties in the Coastal Promontory Ward in particular has soared well above that level, to an average of 48.47 per cent.
Venus Bay wins the shire’s 2022 average valuation growth biscuit with 77.92 per cent, with nearly as big jumps also recorded at Tidal River with 69 per cent; Walkerville, 59.49 per cent; Yanakie, 51.72 per cent; Sandy Point, 49.36 per cent, and Waratah Bay, 47.78 per cent.
Not all Coastal Promontory townships experienced such valuation rises though, with Toora’s property values lifting by an average of 22.24 per cent in comparison to the shire’s 36.99 per cent.
Foster’s average increase is 32.42 per cent; Welshpool, 34.64 per cent; Port Welshpool, 29.2 per cent; Port Franklin, 23.15 per cent; Wonga, 28.79 per cent, and Hedley, 31.89 per cent.
Other Corner Inlet district towns’ average valuation increases include Fish Creek on 43.89 per cent, and Buffalo on 42.68 percent, both of which are above the shire average.
Rates notices are currently arriving in shire landholders’ letterboxes and incoming email folders, with many sections of the South Gippsland community, especially those in seaside areas, likely to experience varying degrees of “bill shock” because higher values equals higher rates.
The shire has also included an explanatory brochure entitled About your rates with the notices this year, which sets out why rates are charged, how rates are worked out, and what the council’s income and outgoings are.
The State Government’s annual rate cap, 1.75 per cent in 2022/23, sets the maximum and total amount of revenue that each Victorian council may raise in any rating year from across all of their respective rateable and leviable properties.
However in areas where land values skyrocket above a municipality’s average valuation increase, individual rates bills will rise correspondingly in contrast to last year’s notices and, equally, bills will fall when a property’s value increase is less than the municipal average.
Topping the shire’s land valuation growth list, Venus Bay’s 2356 rateable properties, or assessments saw their average value go up by 77.92 per cent; from $295,696 in 2021 to $526,100 in 2022, resulting in a rate increase averaging 33.67 per cent or $476.15.
Last year, the shire invoiced Venus Bay ratepayers an average of $1414.13, and this year the mean rates amount is $1890.28.
Second on the list are, interestingly, the eight rateable properties at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park, with individual values elevating by an average of 69 per cent, from $168,125 to $284,125, resulting in a median 24.9 per cent rates spike and rates bills averaging $922.66 this year.
In third place is Walkerville, with an average 21.3 per cent rate rise equating to $345.69 more and an average rates account of $1969.02, after its average property value across 288 assessments went up 59.49 per cent, from $375,559 in 2021 to $598.969 in 2022.
Yanakie comes in fourth in terms of higher land values, with its 240 assessments’ median coming in at $1,214,404 this year, up from $800,466 in 2021, representing a 51.72 per cent increase, with a commensurate lift in the rates of 12.66 per cent or $366.36, creating an average rates bill of $3263.44.
Fifth position holder Sandy Point recorded a median jump of 49.36 per cent or $240,588 in the value of its 782 rateable properties, up from $487,407 in 2021 to $727,995 in 2022, with last year’s rates bills averaging $2168.41 and this year’s $2404.44, up 10.75 per cent.
Sixth on the valuation increase list is Waratah Bay, where the average valuation of its 141 assessments went up by 47.78 per cent or $339,468, up from an average value of $710,482 in 2021 to $1,049,950 in 2022, with an average rates leap of 9.98 per cent or $325.34.
STATISTICS ACROSS THE SHIRE
The average worth of each one of South Gippsland Shire’s 20,269 rateable properties in 2022 is $712,089, up from $519,801 in 2021, representing an average value increase of $192,288 or the already cited 36.99 per cent.
Last year ratepayers were charged an average rate of $2100.24, while this year the median rates bill is $2137, therefore an average increase across the whole shire of $36.75 or 1.75 per cent, as required by the State Government’s 2022/23 rate cap.
In 2021, the shire’s income from general rates was $42.2 million, and in 2022 the total rate revenue will be $43.3 million, plus a further $4.1 million from the municipality’s universally applied annual waste charges and fire services levy.
These two figures together represent 67.5 per cent of South Gippsland’s operating income for 2022/23.
The other 32.5 per cent of income is derived from a combination of sources, including grants, fees, fines, and contributions.
Rates notices are based on the current valuation of each property and in Victoria councils are required to value every property each year for the purpose of rating and for land tax.
Valuers use comparative property sales, rental data, location, size, age and condition of a property to determine each property’s individual valuation.
The amount of each rate notice is worked out by multiplying the certified property valuation by the one of seven differential rate categories that is most appropriate for the type of property, such as General/Residential, Farming, Commercial or vacant land.
A cents in the dollar of Capital Improved Value (CIV) formula is used to calculate the amount of rates each individual property owner pays, for example; South Gippsland Shire’s current Industrial rate is 0.340974 per cent or 0.00340974 cents in the dollar of CIV.
The higher the CIV, the higher the rates, and vice versa.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s 2022/23 valuation, certified by the Victorian Valuer General, came in to force as at January 1, 2022, and forms the basis for this year’s rates notices.
The 22/23 valuation is the last one to be conducted by the shire’s own in-house team of valuers as amendments to the State Valuation of Land Act 1960 saw the Valuer General Victoria take over the role of valuation authority for all councils from July 1, 2022.
All Victorian local government areas, including South Gippsland Shire, will continue to maintain their property valuation data bases. Property owners have the right to object to their valuation if they consider the valuation is not reflective of market value, and the process for doing so is detailed on their rates notice.