The fundamental underpinnings of any stable, secure and democratic society is the right to own property. Property rights provide the foundation on which many other rights and privileges are exercised. The right to own property affords citizens a means whereby they can secure a permanent stake in their nation.
Where strong protections are afforded in law for the right of citizens to own property there is a value that transcends the natural value of the property alone.
Acquisition of Property
- Property acquisitions by governments have widened substantially in recent years with the impact of planning regulation, heritage listing, significant tree legislation, native vegetation protection, rising sea levels due to ‘climate change’ and numerous other encumbrances leading to increasingly restricted use of private property.
- The Australian Family Party believes that if Federal, State or Local governments wish to either acquire a person’s property or limit a person’s right to develop or enjoy a property, then the property owner should be fully compensated for his or her loss.
- For example, government decisions to impose wind turbines – causing devaluation of property – should result in either the government, wind turbine proponent – or both – being liable to compensate landholders for their losses.
- It is a fundamental principle of farm land ownership that the property is acquired with the water rights attached to the property, including the amount of rainfall that falls on the property. Farmers should not have to pay more, or again, for the water rights that attach to the property. The Government does not own rainfall.
As it now stands, the Native Title Act recognises native title rights and sets down basic principles in relation to native title in Australia including that native title cannot be extinguished (other than through the Native Title Act). While recognition of the existence of native title has provided for Aboriginal people new rights in connection with their traditional lands, these new rights have become very much a two-edged sword.
For example, Native Title rights do not confer the right to sell, lease, develop or offer the land as security for economic development. The fragile nature of such a right therefore has no capacity to assist in securing a future for Aboriginal people.
- The Australian Family Party believes the future of property regimes such as Native Title is too insecure and should be replaced by a freehold system empowering Aboriginal people, families and communities.
- The Australian Family Party believes that Australia’s Torrens Title system is the best property regime in the world and should be the sole means of managing property ownership.
The Attack on Property Rights
[Lorraine Finlay, reproduced with permission]