Farmer’s rates almost double

Barunah Plains ratepayers Ben and Russell Coad are upset with a huge spike in their Colac Otway Shire Council rates bills after property revaluations this year.

A Colac district farmer is upset with his region’s council rates spike, saying the increase is too much for one year.

Barunah Plains’ Russell Coad said the rate increase to the five properties within the locality was “ludicrous”.

Barunah Plains will have a 77-per-cent rate increase this year, causing a $2681 increase to more than $6000 on average.

Colac Otway Shire corporate services general manager Errol Lawrence said the properties at Barunah Plains were only valued in comparison with other properties at Barunah Plains before the 2019 revaluation.

Mr Lawrence said a lack of sales at Barunah Plains in recent years resulted in properties being undervalued.

“For the 2019 valuation, Barunah Plains properties were compared with similar properties in the Cressy, Wingeel and Weering localities,” he said.

Mr Lawrence said the 2019 valuation prepared by Valuer General Victoria also drew on four sales that occurred in 2018 at Barunah Plains, Cressy and Wingeel.

“These sales ranged from $1.12 million to $3.359 million at a per acre amount ranging from $3350 to $3800. These sales therefore gave a clear indication of the value of land in Barunah Plains,” he said.

But Mr Coad said the massive rate increase caused a burden and he would have preferred a gradual increase.

“It seems ludicrous that we have such a big increase in one year, and just to say property values have increased in that part of the shire seems ridiculous to me because there’s been a really strong growth in land sales in the region for a number of years now,” he said.

Mr Coad said the area was in a very remote part of the shire and he believed his area’s services use was minimal.

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