Queensland Law Society (QLS) raised concerns about the drafting of amendments to the state’s land valuation laws at today’s public hearing on the Land Valuation Amendment Bill 2023.
QLS General Manager, Policy, Public Affairs and Governance, Matt Dunn, and QLS member and partner at Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers, Allan Lonergan, represented the Society before the State Government’s Transport and Resources Committee at Parliament House.
The Bill was introduced by Resources Minister Scott Stewart on 23 August in a bid to improve the administration and operation of the statutory land valuation framework. It proposed amendments to the Land Valuation Act 2010 to ensure:
- it was responsive to changes in the property market and operational environment and transparent in its operation;
- valuations were consistent and defensible, and the supporting processes such as objections and appeals were effective and efficient;
- a clear and consistent framework for determining when land was valued separately or combined based on land use and occupation.
QLS spoke to its submission, which supported the Bill’s intent of ensuring greater transparency in the way land was valued but raised concerns with the Bill’s drafting.
Mr Dunn said QLS had strong reservations about an amendment which would grant the Valuer-General legislative power to make guidelines about any matter relating to the administration of the Act or the valuation of land.
“Our concerns with this proposal relate to the potential implication the binding guidelines would have on the Land Court’s role in the valuation process and the law to be applied,” he said.
“Whilst we see merit in the preparation of guidelines in terms of consistency, to ensure transparency and clarity with respect to any changes to the law to be applied, the fundamentals of the guidelines and the valuation framework to be applied should properly be prescribed within the Act itself.”
Mr Dunn pointed to amendments proposed by QLS in relation to objector conferences, to ensure that an owner could request an objection conference in all cases, and that the decision to offer or not offer a conference was made with reference to published criteria.
He also pointed to recommendations from QLS that a conference chairperson may only request information directly relevant to the valuation or objection, and that documents produced for the purpose of the conference should be privileged.
“We share concerns of other submitters that as currently drafted some of the changes may have the unintended consequence of reducing the utility of an objection conference which is contrary to the legislative intention.”
Read the QLS submission here.
The committee is due to table its report on 24 November 2023.