Council rates comparisons

To follow up on the previous post and the Cairns Regional Council rates comparison which can be found here. There is a brief summary of assumptions and a handful of graphs provided the most meaningful of which are these two:

Among those I have excluded here because it doesn’t deserve credibility is an analysis of residential rates comparison at the Cairns median of $177.5k applied across all council areas. This is nonsense and Council knows it is nonsense because I had a productive discussion a few years ago following their first benchmarking exercise. Subsequently the second graph above appeared benchmarking more appropriately against the median for the different council areas.

If you don’t understand this let me go back to retrieved files when I first raised this with now outdated data:

What happens when you benchmark on the median value for Cairns applied across other regions is that what you are actually benchmarking is the difference land valuations between the councils.

There are more complex ways to look at this. Again as above old data from the past applied across the spectrum of valuations:

2018 rates benchmarking 5

This chart is truncated to the right beyond where banding and small numbers of higher value properties come into play around the Cairns ridges and beaches come into play. This is only the general rate component which is relevant for valuations and probably should be assessed separately from specific service components anyway.

A criticism of the CRC benchmarking graphs is summing the totals to include water usage which can distort total comparisons particularly relative to SEQ. Water usage is dependant on different arrangements between regions and beyond a basic requirement is discretionary particularly related to household and property type.

I also didn’t really like the range of regional council comparisons provided so went looking at other coastal comparisons and hit gold in Gladstone: Yes Gladstone Regional Council  also gets it with information on how rates are calculated.

2018 rates benchmarking 6

Yes, that’s how to do it. They haven’t updated this for the most recent year but well done.

Council rates comparisons can be impossibly complex with different structures and concessions. Cairns generally comes up well on any residential rates comparison in regional Queensland. Residential rates comparisons isn’t the only factor to assess a council but the perhaps the one most relevant to voters.

Note: Cairns is the currently only big council area which will not receive a land valuation for three years contrary to previous state policy intentions. Revaluation deferrals have been heavily criticised by the Property Council. I have also said nothing about strata unit rates where there are some critical issues.


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