Caravan park owners fight GST

WHILE the caravan park industry has won concessions in the form of a 5 per cent reduction in the GST the battle is not over for caravan park owners.

They will also have to pick up the costs of the new ratings method being introduced by the Valuer General’s Office for permanent sites on caravan parks if current Caravan Industry Australia (WA) lobbying is not successful.

More than 300 WA caravan parks will be affected.

CIA(WA) representative Don Ferguson, a park owner and licensed valuer, said the new valuation method had increased caravan park rates by up to 200 per cent.

Owners will be faced with either bearing the costs or passing it on to the residents.

“Lakelands Leisure Village rates went up 200 per cent and they have had to increase the site rental for permanent residents – most of whom are pensioners – by nearly $110 a year for every site to cover the cost,” Mr Ferguson said.

“The repercussions are not just on the viability of the business, but on the end user.

“A future major concern is that if the Valuer General’s office establishes this position with permanent sites, it is only a matter of time before they attack all caravan parks and assess tourist sites on this basis.

“The new approach is inequitable and unjust for both park owners and people on low incomes,” he said.

“With the new assessment method, the Valuer General’s office has ‘stepped through the gate’ and is now valuing each separate site on its capacity to produce income.

“This is without taking into account the operating costs of the park around it.

“Apart from the flaw in their methodology they have created an administrative nightmare for themselves as well as park operators with this secondary valuation approach.

“The nature of park home sites is that people can move to another park, can sell their park homes and permanent sites can be turned into a tourist site.

“Therefore, over a year their assessments will be constantly outdated and incorrect,” Mr Ferguson said.

Lakeside Leisure Village proprietor and CIA(WA) vice-president Craig Glenister said it was an example of another way in which the Valuer General’s Office tried to justify its existence.

He said it would be impossible for the Valuer General to give an assesment of a caravan park business that would hold for the three years between valuations because of the fluid nature of the business.

Mr Glenister has been forced to increase the revenue from his tenants by about $11,000 per year to make up for a three-fold increase in rates.

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