Valuations committee visits Perilya
Thursday, 31st January, 2013
By Erica Visser
A State Government committee investigating land valuations has visited Perilya's local mine as the Valuer-General prepares to start court proceedings on Monday against the decision to make City Council repay the company almost $7 million in rates.
The committee, headed by Chairman Matt Kean, Member for Hornsby, is in the city to open the inquiry into land valuations in NSW today.
Broken Hill was chosen as the launch site following Perilya's successful appeal against its land valuations from 2007 to 2010.
The Land and Environment Court (LEC) found that its Broken Hill mines were worth $16 million less than the NSW Valuer-General declared.
Council is required to refund almost $7 million in excess rates paid over the three years.
Perilya's Managing Director and CEO, Paul Arndt, yesterday told the BDT that the company had also now lodged its intention to appeal against subsequent valuations.
Meanwhile, the future of Council, which has put projects on hold as a result of the debt, will become better known as details about the Valuer-General's appeal against the LEC's finding are heard.
A directions hearing is due to be held at the LEC on Monday when the judge is expected to discuss the progress of the appeal and set the movements for each party.
Mr Arndt said that he was "not sure of the intricacies" of the hearing, but that Perilya's legal representation was involved.
"There's a session on February 4. That is the start of court proceedings," Mr Arndt said.
The date that the appeal will be heard in court should be known after the directions hearing.
Mr Kean told the BDT that the situation involving Perilya, the Valuer-General and Council was typical of a myriad of problems with valuations throughout the State.
He said that the parliamentary committee, whose purpose is to oversee the Valuer-General, decided it was necessary to look into the methods behind land valuations following a spate of appeals by major corporations.
The committee visited Perilya's Southern Operations yesterday.
While the visit was sprung on Perilya, which only found out about the inquiry on Tuesday, Mr Arndt said that the company welcomed the inquiry.
"I think part of the visit is for them to build an understanding of the issue," he said.
"I think that the review and the process is a very good thing and we're looking forward to helping any way we can."
Perilya's General Manager of Broken Hill operations, David Hume, who hosted the visit from the committee, said that Mr Kean had aimed to form an understanding of the LEC's recent decision.
"We hosted a visit from Matt Kean this morning so that he could get some background information for the inquiry," Mr Hume said.
"We understand that the terms of reference of the inquiry are to look into land valuation. We think this was an important area for the State Government to investigate.
"We answered some general questions that Matt had and in particular he requested that we show him some of the mine infrastructure established here at our Southern Operations so that he could get an understanding of the difference between the conclusions of the rulings by the LEC.
"No particular observations or judgments were made this morning."
Mr Hume said that the meeting centred on the LEC's finding and the Valuer-General's decision to appeal it.
"We only focussed on the existing appeal challenge that was heard last year."
Mr Hume said that Perilya would be willing to meet with the committee if need be, after it is officially launched today. It would also consider whether it was appropriate to partake in a public submission, which ends on March 8.