Pro­pri­etors’ rights are un­der sus­tained at­tack

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Westernopinion - John Wether­all, Ned­lands.

THE ar­ti­cle in last week’s edi­tion head­lined “Tree group fo­cuses on canopies” rightly ac­knowl­edges that tree con­trol on pri­vate prop­erty en­croaches on “the last bas­tion” of a prop­erty pro­pri­etor’s rights.

It took two years of com­mu­nity re­volt, plus a pros­e­cu­tion and change of coun­cil, to re­move the City of Ned­lands tree law that was buried in the town plan­ning scheme.

This odious law re­quired a visit and writ­ten ap­proval from the “tree in­spec­tor” be­fore prun­ing any “tree” over 2m or branch of about 5cm di­am­e­ter.

Pro­pri­etors’ rights have been un­der sus­tained at­tack from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties for a long time.

Loss of rights for her­itage pur­poses, man­age­ment of trees and land­scap­ing on pri­vate prop­erty,

im­po­si­tion of “green” life­style-con­trol­ling poli­cies con­cern­ing ve­hi­cle spa­ces, use of and ac­cess to re­new­able en­ergy, and over-strin­gent de­sign guide­lines that re­strict pro­pri­etors’ choices for an ap­proved use are weapons used in the front line of this war.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties of­ten ex­pro­pri­ate th­ese rights un­be­known to ratepay­ers, who be­come aware of the loss only when they are per­son­ally af­fected; non-manda­tory vot­ing in lo­cal govern­ment al­lows ap­a­thy to flour­ish.

Lo­cal govern­ment seems to as­sume the end jus­ti­fies the means.

Those with no re­spect for prop­erty rights should be aware of the Faus­tian bar­gain they em­brace.

When pro­pri­etors’ ti­tle rights be­come too de­val­ued, gov­ern­ments, in­clud­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments, will have greater op­por­tu­nity to tak­ing them away al­to­gether. Aus­tralians will then join the list of so­cial­is­tic na­tions where prop­erty rights are ephemeral and po­lit­i­cal un­rest and cor­rup­tion rule the day.

If prop­erty own­ers do not de­fend their rights, they will lose them – and not get them back any time soon.

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