9th February 2010
Property Rights Australia has backed the announcement of a Senate Inquiry into land clearing laws following the success of a mass rally in Canberra attended by more than 3,000 farmers last Tuesday.
PRA president Ron Bahnisch, who led a Queensland contingent, said yesterday the organisation welcomed the inquiry and would be making a very strong submission.
The Senate has voted to refer the issue to its finance and public administration references committee, with the inquiry reporting back in April.
Mr Bahnisch a Marlborough grazier described the Canberra rally as a huge success, with the New South Wales Farmers Federation allocating $200,000 for free buses, promotion and catering.
He was among a list of speakers including Opposition leader Tony Abbott and Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Abbott said that he supported farmers’ freehold land rights. His new environmental climate change policy had taken land rights into account.
Senator Joyce, who is also the Opposition finance spokesman, had the crowd cheering with the message, if you want someone’s property, you must pay for it.
“Farmers have had enough of the restrictions on what they can do on their own land,” he said.
Mr Bahnisch said his group had hoped for a big turn-out to carry the momentum started by Peter Spencer’s recent land rights protest, and that was achieved.
“PRA was formed to fight for and defend property rights and this is what it is all about.
“This is what Peter Spencer was protesting for.” Mr Bahnisch said.
He said PRA would investigate the devaluation of properties as a result of land management laws and would also be talking to Dr Bill Burrows, a retired scientist formerly with the Department of Natural Resources, in relation to preparing a submission to the Senate Inquiry.
Senator Joyce yesterday said that he was pleased with the National Party’s leading role in ensuring a Senate Inquiry to deal with injustices to farming families as a result of vegetation laws.
“Australia has had to deal with State Governments walking on to the place and stealing vegetation assets, but leaving the landholder with the ongoing financial responsibilities of the rates bills and the public insurance liabilities,” he said.
They had to forego revenue the parcel of land would have provided to the family business. “This is unfair, unjust and regional Australian families deserve to be treated better.
“Would these families have worked as hard if they knew they were leaving their generational asset, eventually, to government?”
He called on all affected property owners to participate in the Senate Inquiry as it travelled around the country.
The inquiry would be advertised next week and he called for as many submissions as possible to plan the hearings.