PROPERTY RIGHTS AUSTRALIA
“The erosion of private property rights is the single biggest issue
facing the rural community. It creates uncertainty, stifles investment,
job creation and threatens incomes and service delivery.”
14th May 2013
Property Rights Australia made a submission to the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill as called for by the government.
We praised the initiative of the government which plans to remove clauses which remove human rights and legal protections as pointed out by Professor Suri Ratnapala such as reversal of the onus of proof, loss of the right to silence, mistake of fact and return to the Justices Act for sentencing which will hopefully remove the conflict with the Vegetation Management Act and the end of ad hoc sentencing.
There are also some specific vegetation measures which have raised the ire of environmentalists.
PRA submitted that there should also be changes made to the section on Restoration Notices. We submitted that they should only be imposed after being found guilty of illegal activity and that they should be structured to allow completion in the simplest and most efficient manner. It is also very important that the terms are appealable.
Restoration Notices attach to property titles for up to 40 years, can be imposed by a departmental officer on a “reasonable belief” that an illegal act has been committed. The terms of the Notice cannot be appealed and some in the past have included complicated conditions which have been regarded as unable to be complied with.
The reply on the parliamentary website was along the lines that this was a civil penalty and preferable to court. If these Notices are to become more common the terms of the Notice need to be appealable.
I would like to hear from anyone who has such a Notice attached or perhaps has a neighbour who has. The points I am interested in are loss of property value and whether the Restoration was allowed in a way that was practical or prescriptive and difficult to be complied with.
PRA Conference and AGM will be held at the Highfields Cultural Centre on Saturday 15th June. Please register in advance.
Available from the office or at Conference will be “Richland, Wasteland” by Sharyn Munroe. This book was not a random choice. Sharyn Munroe gets to the heart of the ways in which mining companies divide communities, frustrate people into accepting poor terms or leaving the properties that they love.
The stories that she has to tell will be recognised by many who are currently engaged in negotiations with mining, CSG or infrastructure companies.
Joanne Rea, Chairman
Property Rights Australia
Phone: 07 49213430
Fax: 07 49213870
STAND YOUR GROUND