MITCHELL sheep and cattle producers Walter and Christine McLean can finally look out at summer grass around their house block for the first time in five years after drought and kangaroo pressures on their 30,217 hectare property, Abbieglassie.
But you would be forgiven for thinking Abbieglassie’s production had dramatically risen in the last 12 months after its new unimproved value increased 100 per cent, jumping from $900,000 to $1.8 million and $59.57/hectare.
That’s compared with a rise of 20 per cent in 2016 and no increase in the five years prior to that.
Making it even harder to comprehend is the fact a neighbouring property increased by 139 per cent while others only went up by just over 60 per cent.
The McLeans are among a large group of landholders set to lodge an objection to their new land valuations which will also see their rates sky rocket as they are above the Maranoa’s overall increase of 41.9 per cent.
“There is no rhyme or reason for it,” Mr McLean said.
The variations continue on their own property where their freehold block received a 49 per cent valuation increase while their leasehold rose by 103 per cent.
But the total increase for Abbieglassie as a whole only rose by 100 per cent, meaning there is an unaccountable 52 per cent or $300,000 in the valuer’s calculation.
Ms McLean believed their valuations were based on sales 90km from them, towards Bollon, where it was a sea of buffel.
“We used to harvest buffel here but we have had no summer rain and the kangaroos,” she said.
“If anybody’s buying in thinking that’s the production, there is a difference between the real estate value and the productivity value.
“When Mitchell had all that rain they got two inches (50mm), we got 20 points (7mm). When Bollon got two inches (50mm), we got 20 points (7mm). It’s just this funny little pocket in the middle they’ve picked on.”
AgForce rural property valuer John Moore spoke to a group of AgForce members at Abbieglassie on Thursday, April 5, and said their area had been the hardest affected.
He said valuers hadn’t properly evaluated accurate market data and an increase of 40 per cent across the board would be more justifiable.
“I don’t think the variances are reflective of the current market,” he said.
But State Valuation Service south west region area manager John Thomas said the variances were caused by a mix of country types which were taken into account when investigating sales in the area.
He said generally forest country had increased 50 per cent, scrub country was up 75 per cent while under developed forest had only risen 25 per cent.
“From those various sales they then determine what each different type of country type in comparison to the previous level of value that has been applied by the Department and to see what trends those different sales show,” he said.
“If all the country types moved the same, you wouldn’t have a drama.
“But the markets move differently because people want types of country over others and they are prepared to pay more for those over others and markets move differently.
In a press release, Deputy Mayor Jan Chambers said the Valuer-General had cited the continuing strengthening of beef commodity prices and low interest rates as the key drivers for the increase in the rural land values.
“We find it hard to believe that such significant increases could be seen for such a large part of our region,” she said.
“The Maranoa has been drought declared now for almost five years – our primary producers have been working endlessly to overcome these dry years and this will be a big shock to all.”
Landholders have until May 6 to lodge an objection found at www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/title/valuation/objections