August 25, 2007
Posted by neil, at 02:41 PM
The Australian Rainforest Foundation (ARF) has thrown a cat amongst the pigeons, by lodging twenty-two applications for compensation with Douglas Shire Council, for development rights stripped from Daintree freehold properties.
The applications concern land bought by the ARF with funds allocated by the Commonwealth Government from its Biodiversity Hotspots Program.
Douglas Shire Mayor Mike Berwick is quoted in today’s Cairns Post: “This…undermines the entire Daintree conservation effort by claiming compensation.”
State Member for Cook, Jason O’Brien MLA, thinks it is outrageous, a joke and double-dipping.
Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch MP, says he does not see a problem with the ARF’s compensation bid.
Under the provisions of the Integrated Planning Act 1997 an owner of an interest in land is entitled to be paid reasonable compensation by a local government if a change reduces the value of the interest or if the only purpose for which the land could be used (other than the purpose for which it was lawfully being used when the change was made) is for a public purpose.
The stated effect of the expropriation of development rights on the land in question is conservation.
The ARF adopted a freehold conservation model that had been suggested by the local community, with lands voluntarily acquired, consolidated into larger holdings, covenanted to perpetuity with an exclusion envelope for an overall reduction in development capacity, and then on-sold. Funds would be reinvested in a rolling conservation trust.
The Queensland Government and DSC scuttled the ARF conservation initiative through the compulsory expropriation of development rights. By whom will the cost be borne?