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Drivas Lakes Pty Limited v Valuer-General QLC 42
LAND COURT OF QUEENSLAND
Drivas Lakes Pty Limited as Tte v Valuer-General  QLC 42
Drivas Lakes Pty Limited as Tte
ACN 110 117 149
Appeal under s 155 of the Land Valuation Act 2010 against objection decision
15 November 2019
19 August 2019
Submissions closed 4 October 2019
REAL PROPERTY – VALUATION OF LAND – OBJECTIONS AND APPEALS – QUEENSLAND – where respondent’s valuation expert agrees with the appellant’s valuation expert on the value of the subject land – where the appellant requests the Court to resolve the question of law that was initially in dispute
COURTS AND JUDGES – COURTS – JURISDICTION AND POWERS – whether the Court could or should give reasons when there is no longer a dispute – consideration of the function of the Court
Land Valuation Act 2010 s 155, s 170
Roy Morgan Research Centre Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue (2001) 181 ALR 307, cited
Soulemezis v Dudley (Holdings) Pty Ltd (1987) 10 NSWLR 247, cited
RN Traves QC, with S McCarthy (instructed by Colin Biggers & Paisley) for the appellant
JP Hastie (instructed by Clayton Utz) for the respondent
- The respondent owns property at 5-27 Wongawallan Drive, Yarrabilba, 4207. This address is in Logan City and comprises Lots 1–2 on Survey Plan 279789. It has an area of 9,904 m2. As part of the Valuer-General’s routine functions, the respondent assessed the land’s site value as at 1 October 2016 as $2,000,000.
- In accordance with its rights under the Land Valuation Act 2010 (“the Act”), the appellant objected to the valuation of $2,000,000. On 28 November 2018, the respondent provided a decision on the objection. The decision was that “the valuation amount remains unaltered” and included reasons in brief form.
- In accordance with s 155(1) of the Act, the objector appealed to this Court against the objection decision. It is now the appellant.
- The appeal was heard on 19 August 2019. There were agreed exhibits and the valuation experts gave evidence concurrently. Although the Notice of Appeal shows that the appellant’s estimate of value was $1,500,000, the joint expert report discloses that the appellant’s valuer, Mr Coen Ladewig, assessed the site value as $1,800,000. The respondent’s valuer, Mr Daniel Moran, assessed the value as $2,000,000. There were no other witnesses.
- Both valuers relied on the sale of the subject land in 2017 in order to assess its value. The sale was for $2,250,000 which was conservatively applied at $2,000,000 to be the respondent’s valuation. The appellant’s valuer subtracted $457,996 from the sale price to arrive at a value of $1,792,004. That was rounded up to $1,800,000. The $457,996 was described in Exhibit 1 as “Infrastructure Benefit” and as “Headworks Credit”.
- The difference between the parties was, in effect, whether or not this amount should have been deducted from the sale price to arrive at the site value.
Aconcession by the valuer for the respondent
- When questioned by Mr Traves QC, Mr Moran conceded that the valuation should be arrived at in the way which Mr Ladewig did. Accordingly, the valuation should be what Mr Ladewig assessed it at, $1,800,000. Mr Moran, by that concession, removed the difference in valuation opinion so that the uncontradicted evidence before the Court became that the site value was $1,800,000.
The result of the concession
- Accordingly, the Court is satisfied that the appellant has discharged the burden of proving its case and, on the evidence, which is now uncontradicted, the Court must allow the appeal and reduce the valuation to $1,800,000 in order to correctly make the valuation under the Act. 
- The parties have provided written submissions. It is convenient to deal first with the submissions made on behalf of the respondent.
- Counsel for the respondent submits that, as Mr Moran has not supported the respondent’s case, the Court must act on the evidence before it. The respondent submits that the appeal should be allowed and the valuation reduced to $1,800,000.
- The 23 page submissions on behalf of the appellant argue for a value of $1,800,000 on the basis of the appellant’s case without relying on the concession made by Mr Moran, although noting that it had occurred.
- In view of the respondent’s submissions, the appellant filed reply submissions on 4 October 2019. The submissions are that the respondent’s submissions do not address the question of law “that must be resolved in deciding the appeal”. Whether the adjustment that both valuers made, in the end, was justified is said to be an issue that remains for the Court to deal with, requesting that “the Court give reasons”.
- In support of this, reference made to comments by McHugh JA in Soulemezis v Dudley (Holdings) Pty Ltd where his Honour explained that a reasoned decision must be arrived at by finding relevant facts and applying the appropriate rules or principles such that the parties can see how their arguments were understood and utilised.
- In the present case, the situation which the appellant had clearly readied itself to meet and which would have required the resolution of the case along the lines it prepared for did not eventuate. Instead of engaging in the anticipated conflict, the respondent has, rightly, conceded that the appellant should succeed.
- The appellant would like to have the legal question, which does not now arise, resolved.
- The Court’s duty is to resolve the dispute before it. In this case it is the appeal against the objection decision. That decision is that the valuation of $2,000,000 remains unaltered. The reasons for the decision were stated to be:
“. When compared to similar properties, the delegate decided that no change in the valuation should be made.
- When compared to sale prices of similar properties, the delegate decided the figures supported the applied value and no change in the valuation should be made.
- The valuation was carried out correctly under the terms and requirements of the Land Valuation Act 2010 and therefore, no change in the valuation has been made.”
- Resolution of the legal question of interest to the appellant would ordinarily have been necessary if the case had proceeded as expected. However, questioning of Mr Moran by Queen’s Counsel for the appellant obtained the very significant concession that Mr Moran in effect agreed with Mr Ladewig’s valuation.
- The Court has the task of resolving the appeal before it. The nub of the appeal, once the objection decision is read, is that the decision to leave unaltered the valuation of $2,000,000 is incorrect.
- Once the concession was made, what is before the Court to decide had been directly addressed by the respondent’s expert. There was then uncontradicted evidence of the correct valuation.
- There was no contradictor in relation to the legal argument in the matter which the appellant has anticipated would be in issue. There is no contest before the Court on that matter so the Court does not have the benefit of competing submissions on it. It does not need to have such submissions as the respondent does not contest the point; it has accepted that the appeal ought to be allowed.
- It is not necessary for the Court to decide what is now a moot point in order to decide the appeal before it, and it would not be helpful to express an opinion on it when that is not relevant to the function which the Court is, by the Act, required and allowed to perform. It would be of no utility to express a view, especially where it would be made in the absence of any contrary submissions.
- This appeal has been resolved in favour of the appellant in a way such that it is not now a suitable vehicle to resolve the previously existing legal point.
- For the reasons given, the Court will not express an opinion which essentially amounts to advice on a question not in issue in the appeal before it.
- The appeal must be allowed and the value of the land reduced to $1,800,000.
- Appeal LVA416-18 is allowed.
- The site value of the land at 5-27 Wongawallan Drive Yarrabilba 4207, Property ID 41486003 being Lots 1–2 on SP279789 with an area of 9,904 m2 as at 1 October 2016 is reduced to One Million Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,800,000).
MEMBER OF THE LAND COURT
Ex 1, tab 1.
Ex 1, tab 2.
Ex 1, tab 4, page 37.
Ibid page 49.
Ibid page 37.
Ex T 1-81, line 16 to T 1-82, line 9.
Land Valuation Act 2010 s 170.
Respondent’s submissions filed 27 September 2019.
Filed 27 September 2019.
Appellant’s reply submissions filed 4 October 2019.
(1987) 10 NSWLR 247, 270. Approved in Roy Morgan Research Centre Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue (2001) 181 ALR 307 .
Land Valuation Act 2010 s 155(1).
Ex 1, tab 1.
- Published Case Name:
Drivas Lakes Pty Limited as Trustee v Valuer-General
- Shortened Case Name:
Drivas Lakes Pty Limited v Valuer-General
 QLC 42
15 Nov 2019