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MS FOLLETT: All of the suburbs I have lived in have experienced fluctuations - - -
Mrs Carnell: Kingston, Pialligo and Tharwa.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MS FOLLETT: I will shout over her if I must. All of the suburbs I have lived in have experienced fluctuations in the valuation of the land and therefore in the rates from time to time. When you see the valuations going up, as they did last year, you think, “Oh well; they will drop back a bit next year”. Given the state of the property market, I think people had a reasonable expectation that that is what would occur. Many people who would have appealed against the valuation last year had they known that it was to be used for two years have lost the chance, under the Government's Bill.
I seek to put back that appeal right. It is very important to recognise that, under the amendment I have moved, I am seeking that appeal right only in relation to determining rates and land taxes to be paid in 1995-96; that is, I have not made it retrospective to last year. If they did not appeal last year, and they paid their rates and land tax last year, end of story. But I do think that for the current year they ought to have the usual appeal rights, hence I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (4.38): We will be opposing this amendment, simply because it is absolutely unnecessary. The basis of these valuations is the 1994 valuations. People have had ample opportunity to appeal against those valuations already. I think it is probably worth while telling you just how many objections there were. There were 393 objections to valuations last year and I think 195 were confirmed. So, a number of people had their appeals upheld and, of course, a number of people did not. That is the whole basis of an appeal system.
What we are talking about here is an appeal against a valuation that happened last year, not this year. Obviously, all of these things come with a cost, and everyone in this Assembly has to realise that that is the case. I cannot see why we would put in place an appeal process when people have had those valuations for more than 12 months and have had every capacity to appeal. Some 393 of them have already appealed. Some of the appeals have been upheld; some of them have not. That is fine. Are we in the business of rehearing the appeals against the 1994 valuations? Remember that this is not against 1995 valuations. What may have happened to their valuations since 1994 will be irrelevant for any appeal. It will simply be the value of those properties on 1 January 1994. They have had any amount of opportunity to do that.
Why would we indulge in this administrative cost and expense, at a time when the budget is tight, when everybody in this Assembly has a large number of extra things they would like to put into this next budget? There are a number of proposals that have come from the Greens and from Mr Moore and all the things we want to achieve. There is only a finite amount of money. If we put in place an administrative process that is unnecessary because everyone has had an opportunity to appeal already - - -
Ms McRae: Not against the 1995 rates. Nonsense!