July 25, 2007 | Graham

Crony Capitalist Land Grab

The decision of the Queensland Government to establish the Urban Land Development Authority is at the one time both an admission that state governments are substantially responsible for the current housing affordability crisis, and another erosion of basic civil rights. It is also a further assault on local government, which is already under siege facing forced amalgamations and confiscation of its water assets.
Most worryingly the authority will have the power to compulsorily acquire land which it can then on-sell to developers who will be able to make a profit from developing it.
It will also side-step council planning legislation to bring on developments faster. It is alleged that this will make the price of a new house up to $20,000 lower (although there are no guarantees, according to Deputy Premier Anna Bligh).
The government is right to be concerned about the impediments that planning legislation puts in the way of developments, but the cure for this is adjustments to the legislation, not a new authority with Stalinist powers of acquisition.
The plan raises the spectre of people in inner-city housing in suburbs like Woolloongabba and Bowen Hills (both areas targeted by the government) being turfed out of their homes so that they can be demolished to make way for high density, highly profitable, new private developments.
This isn’t the first time that the state government has tampered with the property rights of individuals. Farmers face arbitrary loss of property rights under the operation of the vegetation legislation. These are larger civil rights issues than the federal government’s terrorism laws. Now the same arbitrariness has come to town will we see this recognised?

Posted by Graham at 9:43 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. would rising population have something to do with rising land prices?

    Comment by al loomis — July 25, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

  2. I’ve said elsewhere that immigration is one of the reasons that housing prices are rising. But if you had a properly functioning market in new land releases the pressure would get relieved.
    There are also other contributing factors – low interest rates, government charges, and government subsidies to new home buyers.
    But the overwhelming problem is lack of supply. (And I don’t have a problem with low interest rates and proper infrastructure charges).

    Comment by Graham Young — July 25, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

  3. The decision of the Queensland gov’t is typical of the Labor line of thought. “The Government Can Do It better.”
    There is no land shortage other than that created by government planning controls and (and in support of) land speculators and “developers” working together.
    The land question is always there. Until you sort that one out there will always be problems with housing and employment. The rental value of land, when fully collected by society, will be a major step in solving these problems. Stop procrastinating and get down to the basics.

    Comment by Yendis — July 26, 2007 @ 10:15 am

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