Property rights are intrinsic to our Australian democracy. Whether it is against trespass, theft or damage, Australia rightly has strong laws to protect our ownership and use of property.
It’s not just real estate that property rights apply to. It’s the caravan in the shed, the boat on the trailer and the car in the carport. As Australians, we take immense pride in our ownership of property and we have a strong desire to ensure it is protected.
For most families, there’s never a time where more research is done than right before they’re about to buy property. Everything from scouring reviews about a car make and model, to building and pest inspections for a new home – no stone is left unturned when considering a potential purchase.
We buy property with our eyes wide open. We work hard to build the resources to buy property and we try our best to ensure these decisions are sound through exhaustive research.
Imagine then a situation where you buy a fully roadworthy new car, only to be told a month later by the government that the car model is now illegal to drive. Or you buy a new home with a pool for your kids to then be told by the government the pool must be filled in because of a new regulation.
That is exactly what happened to thousands of farming families who bought agricultural land for grazing and were then told by the government that it couldn’t be touched and had to be locked up.
Irrespective of all the research these farming families did on their prospective purchases, there was no indication that their property rights were about to be taken from them without compensation by vegetation management laws.
These families paid a heavy price as they saw their property values and business capacity cut overnight.
From one day to the next, hard-working graziers across regional Australia lost their property rights by government decree to offset the greenhouse gas emissions created by urban centres.
Australian graziers have done more than any other industry in the nation to reduce carbon emissions. As a supply chain, the red meat industry has lost property rights and productive capacity so that emissions from other industries could keep growing.
Unlike the billions of dollars in government subsidies paid to decarbonise the electricity sector, little to no compensation was paid to the Australian graziers responsible for offsetting the nation’s emissions.
The only reason Australia was able to meet its Kyoto targets and why we will meet our Paris commitments is because farming families from Cloncurry to Cobram lost their right to farm.
As the government considers strategies to reduce emissions further, on behalf of Australia’s 445,000 red meat and livestock workers, we ask that any further loss of our industry’s property rights, or productive capacity is ruled out.
Our industry has done the heavy lifting, and we have a plan through technology and investment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 without any further reduction in productive capacity.
To ensure food security and the protection of jobs in our nation’s regional towns there must be no further loss of grazier property rights to offset emissions in other industries.
John McKillop – Chair, Red Meat Advisory Council