The SMH carries an article on Saturdays front page lamenting the power the state of NSW is giving itself in regards to bipassing property rights.
THE State Government plans to give its agencies and councils power to compulsorily acquire private land to re-sell to developers at a profit – or, if they choose, at a reduced price so the developers make even more money.
Legal authorities describe as “quite remarkable” a section of new planning laws flagged by the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, to acquire land by force to onsell to private developers.
I agree with the concerns raised in the article. However I do find odd the notion that governments stealing your land and selling it is somehow worse than stealing your land and keeping it. And is there really any distinction between stealing your land so a private for profit road can be built for the public good or stealing your land so a private for profit shopping mall can be built for the public good? In one sense I think there is a distinction in so far as new road corridors are not easily or readily created through private market means, whilst shopping centres are. However the key legal constraint on governments (at all tiers) really ought to be a proper and transparent assessment process of the public benefit of such a forced acquisition which is open to legal challenge, and a system of just compensation.