THE financial waves powered by Tasmania’s huge jump in property prices over the past five years continue to wash up on local communities.
In the past weeks, Derwent Valley Council has announced a 9 per cent increase in rates revenue for the financial year beginning July 2022. That jump is raising questions of rates fairness, including differences within the municipality itself.
The impact of higher house prices has already forced the Valuer-General to separate Maydena from the rest of the municipality. It is the first time such action has been taken, and will be reflected in the rates paid in a community of just 150 homes. The action follows the latest in regular revaluations, completed every two years by the Valuer-General.
Former local councillor, Peter Binny said the Adjusted Assessed Annual Values for residences in Maydena had risen by 74 per cent over the past year. Elsewhere, the rise is just 30 per cent. “The result is that Maydena homeowners can expect a general rate and fire services increase of 48.5 per cent, as opposed to 11 per cent for the remainder of the municipality,” Mr Binny said.
Based on the new valuations, other classes of property have not risen to the same extent and the rate on these properties will rise by less than the stated 9 per cent, he said. Mr Binny, who is standing for Council again this October, says the Council had the option of establishing a rate increase that would have less of a financial impact on Maydena.
“Central Highlands Council, for example has just set a general rate revenue increase of 4.8 per cent,” Meanwhile, significant rises in real estate prices have pushed Hobart City Council to introduce a differential rating model that limits increases to 2.6 per cent for 2022-23 to help “mitigate disparity in the distribution of rate collections.”
Maydena has seen significant financial impacts from such developments as the Maydena Bike Park and the redevelopment of the old singlemens’ quarters at the Giants Table into luxurious holiday homes. “Ratepayers there, many of them on fixed incomes, are going to be hard hit,” Mr Binny said. “I don’t believe the councillors in the Derwent Valley were aware of the new adjustment factors prior to setting 2022- 23 rates. “They are certainly not aware of the burden their decision has made on Maydena, where a differential rate could have been struck and spread over two years.