SA Valuer-General devalues Kangaroo Island properties by 15 per cent post bushfires

Valuations for all properties across Kangaroo Island, including here at American River, have been devalued by 15 per cent by the State's valuer general. Drone shot by Mike Galea
Valuations for all properties across Kangaroo Island, including here at American River, have been devalued by 15 per cent by the State's valuer general. Drone shot by Mike Galea

Mayor Michael Pengilly is calling on Premier Steven Marshall to commission an urgent independent review of the State Valuer-General's recent decision to devalue all rateable properties on Kangaroo Island.

The decision has resulted in the devaluation of the capital value of all properties on Kangaroo Island by an average of 15 per cent, according to the local council.

Kangaroo Island Council says this will create a 1.8 million hole in its budget, make it harder for property owners to secure loans and could impact on property market values.

The Valuer-General made the decision, purportedly made over a two-week period, following the revaluing of properties that were directly adversely impacted by the catastrophic bushfires.

However, for reasons not clear to council, the State's Valuer also believes that all 5,500 or more properties on the Island have lost considerable value because of the fires.

This despite the fact that the council says only 1.8 per cent of Island properties were impacted by the summer bushfires.

"This is just another hit on Kangaroo Island property owners, at a time when they can least afford it, and the changes present to council an enormous challenge to our budget," Mr Pengilly said.

"Anecdotally we are told that the current capital value of property on the island is more often than not well below the market value, and yet the valuer general has deemed post bushfires, the capital value for all Island properties to be of even less value.

"The Valuer-General has made a rushed decision, not supported by fact and is strangely only being applied to Kangaroo Island."

The Islander contacted the Premier's office for a comment and received the following response: "The general valuation has been completed by the Valuer-General under her statutory powers."

"There is no mechanism to review the general valuation however individual owners have the right to object to their own property value under the Act," the statement read.

The council and mayor meanwhile say the State Government is not even willing to reimburse local government on the Island.

"Interstate where properties directly impacted by bushfire have been revalued their State governments have reimbursed councils the revenue they have lost due to the devaluations, but this is not the case in South Australia and this will translate to lost KI jobs, loss of council services and less contracted work for local businesses," Mr Pengilly said.

"The decision of the Valuer-General is unfathomable and will have wider implications to those who own property on Kangaroo Island, in particular those with mortgages or business loans that use their property as security, they may just find their banks wanting to reassess their debt exposure on the Island and that may make it even more difficult for locals to retain or get loans from the banks.

"This decision sends all the wrong signals to the marketplace. It effects council's capacity to meet community needs and adversely impacts the long term economic future of Kangaroo Island.

"As the valuer general reports directly to the Parliament, I am calling on the Premier and all fair-minded MP's to help Kangaroo Island through this impasse,

"We desperately need support to help rebuild the Island economy and we need decisions that impact on our islands future to be based on fact and applied, critical thinking.

We need this revaluation decision to be reversed or we need the Premier and Treasurer to step up to the plate and reimburse council for its loss in future revenue."

State Member for Mawson, Leon Bignell has written to the State treasurer after being contacted by "several disappointed residents".

"The decision by the Valuer-General is another massive hit to the local economy," he wrote.

"It is unfair on the people of Kangaroo Island who work so hard and have pulled through some of the toughest months they have ever faced to then have their property values decreased by the Valuer-General by an average 15 per cent.

"Please overturn this decision as soon as possible before any further damage is done."


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