THE IMPORTANCE OF LAND TENURE
Social stability and sustainable economic performance require a state framework of land and property laws that recognise the rights and duties of the individual and also the shared concerns of the wider community.
HOW THE STATE DIFFERENTIATES LAND VALUE ON THE BASIS OF TENURE
State landholdings in Queensland amount to 118,420,876 hectares and are valued at $66 billion (approx. $560 per hectare). This is comprised of 24,500 leases (of various types) valued at $6.2 billion, 3 million hectares of road valued at $43.5 billion, 27,500 reserves valued at $15 billion and 21,000 unallocated parcels of land valued at $1.7 billion (which constitute less than 1% of all state land). The other significant state land holdings are the 1009 protected areas and state forests managed via the Nature Conservation Act which covers 11,843,193 hectares valued at $1.9 billion (approx. $160 per hectare). Land gazetted under the Nature Conservation Act places restrictions on tenure and use of land.
The remaining 25% of land in Queensland is held in freehold and valued at $453.4 billion (approx. $11,490 per hectare). The state assessment values freehold land twenty-times more highly per-hectare than publicly-owned land and our freehold World Heritage property in particular, seventy-two-times more expensively than state-owned World Heritage land.
“Through the expression of will and the faculties of adaptation, inhabitants make use of natural provisions, both for themselves and also for the greater life-interests of cohabitants. Every advantage serves its intended purpose, but for human consideration a greater benefit accrues, through the apprehension of value as it attaches emotional reward to memory.”
Land management comes at a cost. On public lands, those costs are met fully by the taxpayer, whilst private holdings are responsible for paying their own expenses. On the other hand, human inhabitants are better connected, informed and motivated to carry out land management obligations for their own direct benefits and the benefits for future generations. A more enlightened and cost-effective land management framework would build its integrity upon the natural bond between natural landholdings and their human inhabitants.