18/10 01
Press release / letter to the editor

All landholders are without property security - public good conservation


The House of Representatives Standing Committee recently released  a public good
conservation report on Sept 19th. In it there are several points made on
pages 27-29 regarding property rights

 Dr Murray Raff , a constitutional and property law expert is reported as
(1) There is no absolute property in Australia, all tenure including freehold
is still held of the crown

(2) Expectations that landholders may have had when purchasing the land does
not give rise to a legal claim for compensation if the land use changes and
the expectations become unrealisable.

(3) In the absense of a declaration of human and / or  private property
rights, the crown can resume all types of land tenure without compensation

 The report says that at present landholders have only "various percieved
moral rights" to compensation.

In the light of these statements, it is obvious there is NO CERTAINTY  for
ANY landholder to obtain justice if one or all of their current management or
property rights are removed by any level of government.

The committee also said

* This uncertainty is unacceptable and investment in ecologically sustainable
agriculture will only occur if property rights are certain, and
* Property rights should be clearly understood between landholder and the
Crown, and if they are varied, entitlements specified. (pg 131-132)

Even the report agrees we need an agreement.
We landholders are demanding property rights legislation so we can have
confidence that we will be able to continue farming our land so if we do have
our rights removed, (e.g. using water, grazing, ploughing etc)  we know we
will be dealt with fairly by governments.

If there is no certainty to our management rights, then there is no incentive
for long term goals.

A property rights bill should therefore be a policy of all political parties
wanting long term private investment into good land management.

Leon Ashby
Convenor of Landholders for the Environment