Lockyer council takes land valuation fight to minister

LAND valuations and grant funding were hot topics for discussion when Local Government minister Stirling Hinchcliffe met with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.

Mayor Tanya Milligan had told rate payers the hotly contested land valuations the region received earlier this year would be top of the agenda during last week's meeting, and they certainly were.

Some rate payers received extreme changes in their land values, some over 400 per cent, while other experienced decreases.

Finance portfolio councillor Chris Wilson said the valuations had made applying rates for this year's council budget an extremely difficult task, with the council's finance team complete re-working the rate model to ensure rate changes were fair.

Cr Wilson said last week's meeting with the minister had been positive, and he hoped council's request for changes had been heard.

"One of our points of contention from a council point of view were that we pay $130,000 a year for valuations that have taken three years to come about," Cr Wilson said.

"If they were done more regularly, we wouldn't have these huge spikes that we've just experienced."

Cr Wilson said the minister explained to the council the cost of the valuations was "substantially" more than $130,000 and the cost was spread over a two- or three-year period.

However, the councillor said there were solutions on the table.

"We brought up the idea of perhaps not doing the whole region every year, perhaps just the hot pockets - the one's already experiencing growth," he said.

Another topic of contention was the Works for Queensland grant program which supports regional councils to undertake job-creating maintenance and minor infrastructure projects.

Presently, Lockyer Valley Regional Council is not considered eligible for the program to reduce unemployment in regional areas, and Cr Wilson wants this changed.

"Our council area has an unemployment rate higher than a number of councils that have actually received this funding currently - and we've been lobbying this one for a fair while," he said.

While there wasn't a silver bullet, he believed the meeting had been positive and said he looked forward to continuing to work with Minister Hinchliffe.

"I think they took our issues very seriously and I hope they take it on-board and something can be achieved from it," he said.