Death, Taxes and…. Rates

Members would have received annual rates notices by now. Read them carefully.

Riverland Wine has been approached by members concerned that some vineyard valuations include the value of water entitlements when in fact water assets have been relinquished.  Prima facie, this seems perverse, particularly in those cases where water entitlements have been relinquished to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH), in exchange for SARMS grant funds. In other cases irrigators have been well advised to sell some, or all their water entitlements, as part of contemporary business planning, risk-management or asset utilisation programs. Indeed, in some of these cases, the water has been disposed of through sales directly to the CEWH or indeed the State Government.

It was in July 2009 that water and land were separated.  Many argued unsuccessfully at the time, that the separation of water and land would disrupt the balance between these most primary of all resources and quite possibly distort markets by introducing investors with no interest or commitment to the river and its environment, nor for regional industries and communities nor for the state and its economy.  Nevertheless, the changes were made and irrigators have worked to adjust business plans and manage the agricultural risk, continuously mindful of their overriding obligations as foremost custodians of the environment and the scarce resource the global population has come to value more and more: water. 

In circumstances, where water entitlements have been relinquished and considered an entirely separate asset, perhaps owned by the government or an unrelated investor, then property values should reflect those realities.  One could reasonably expect that the VG would take that into account when establishing property values for the purpose of calculating Council rates, payable by the property owner.  Initial investigations have revealed the Valuer General has conceded that technically, water entitlements should not form part of a vineyard’s value; furthermore the office has a statutory obligation to value properties correctly by comparing sales data to similar properties with adjustments made for any differences.

If you feel your vineyard has not been correctly valued, you may lodge an objection using the form available at the following link

Alternatively, email and Riverland Wine will seek to assist members through the appeal process but NOTE: There is a 60 day time limit for objections to be lodged from the date of receipt of the first rates notice. The Valuer General has consistently disallowed objections of this nature and Riverland Wine shall seek to assist members through the appeal process.  

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