The upper house Standing Committee on Public Administration will conduct an inquiry into private property rights following Agricultural Region MLC Rick Mazza of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party’s successful motion on the subject in the Legislative Council.
Mr Mazza raised a number of issues in his June 12, 2019 motion, primarily the need for registration on the certificate of title of encumbrances such as environmentally sensitive areas (ESA), bushfire prone areas and implied easements for Western Power that currently sit behind the certificate of title.
He also discussed compensation for people whose land or livelihood is affected in the process of their property being sterilised for conservation.
“If a public benefit is going to be derived from a piece of land, the public should be willing to bear the cost. At the moment the cost is being borne by a few landholders who carry the burden of any reduced land values,” Mr Mazza said.
Currently government can apply ESA restrictions without notifying landowners, who are expected to make their own inquiries.
“Any encumbrances need to be registered on the title to warn potential buyers.”
Mr Mazza said more than 98,000 parcels of privately owned land in Western Australia have ESA restrictions. This makes it an offence to clear native vegetation unless done under legislative exemption or a permit, with heavy fines of $250,000 existing for individuals, and $500,000 for companies.
Unfortunately, many owners are unaware that their property is affected.
“Parliamentary reports into property related issues were conducted in the past, in 2004 and 2015. To go through that process again in nine months will be a big undertaking, however those reports are available to the Committee to refer to,” Mr Mazza said.
The Inquiry into Private Property Rights Committee will table their findings on March 12, 2020.