Within the Northern Territory, there are very real geographic and climatic challenges, to the provision of an effective and efficient valuation service, that are not experienced to the same extent elsewhere in Australia.

Given the challenges of climate, distance and isolation previously referred to, there are obvious benefits to be gained by adapting new technology to the requirements of a busy and diverse valuation service.

A number of computer-based options are currently being investigated as to their suitability for use under Northern Territory conditions, in consultation with other areas of the Northern Territory Government.


During the year ( 1999/2000) , revaluations under Section 10 (3) of the Valuation of Land Act in respect of the City of Darwin, the Darwin Rates Ordinance area and the [then] Town of Palmerston.

There was ongoing consultation with property practitioners during the valuation process; and, on its completion, members of the Australian Property Institute, Australian Property Council and the Real Estate Institute of the NT were briefed as to the effect and implications of the revaluation.
Similarly, councillors and staff of Darwin City Council, and the Mayor and officers of Palmerston Town Council were briefed as to the effect and implications of the revaluation in relation to their councils and ratepayers.

Approximately 30,000 Notices of Valuation were posted to property owners on 19 November, 1999. It is considered that the current objection period of thirty days from the posting of the Notice of Valuation is inadequate.

As a means of ensuring that any property owner, who was unhappy with the valuation applied, took the opportunity to object, or at least, seek clarification, statements were provided to the Darwin media alerting property owners to their rights. There was extensive coverage of this, and related issues, on television, radio and in the Northern Territory News.

About 480 telephone enquiries were received in relation to these Notices. Most of these were resolved by an explanation of the purpose of the valuations, and what Unimproved Capital Value actually represents; however, 84 proceeded to formal objection under the provisions of Part V of the Valuation of Land Act.

These properties were then reinspected by valuers, usually in company with the Objector, and the valuation reconsidered in the light of any matters raised by the property owner. Of these, 28 were sustained on the recommendation of the valuer, and the remainder were disallowed. No disallowed objections proceeded to the Valuation Board of Review.


There has been consultation with officers of the Northern Territory Government, and local government, in relation to recommended changes to the Valuation of Land Act.

Recommended amendments to the Valuation of Land Act, include a proposed extension of the objection period to 90 days from the date of the Notice of Valuation. This is comparable to the objection period allowed in other jurisdictions.

These suggested changes attempt to simplify some of the procedures and concepts covered by the Act; and provide for a more equitable objection process, while maintaining the options open to local government in relation to the frequency and basis of future revaluations. The amendments also recognise the benefits to be obtained through the effective use of electronic data storage and transfer.


In attempting to quantify the effect of native title claims, and to assess ‘just terms’ compensation for the acquisition of native title rights and interest valuers are confronted by a situation which, although the subject of much debate and commentary, has not been adequately resolved in practice within Australia.

Although ‘native title’, or its equivalent, is a significant issue in Canada and New Zealand as well as Australia, judicial precedent and land administration practice in those countries are of considerable interest but currently, for historical reasons, offer no direct assistance to
Australian valuers.

Despite critical comment from this Office and Department of Lands, Planning and Environment, a Guidance Note in relation to native title matters was issued by the Australian Property Institute. This was, however, largely academic in style and did not provide the practical advice which is anxiously awaited by practitioners.

As well as monitoring legal and other technical developments in this area within the Northern Territory and Australia-wide, this Office forms part of an informal network of valuers and land administrators in Canada, New Zealand and Australia who share issues of mutual concern and interest.

Although no universally accepted valuation approach has yet emerged, the expertise of this Office is recognised by the frequency at which advice and guidance is sought by the Valuers-General of other jurisdictions.