Image for ... ground rules change to suit Forestry

On Friday 10th. June the Supreme Court in Launcestion handed down a judgement in favour of a couple who have been battling to gain a permit to build a home on land they purchased some six years ago.

Those people are certainly to be admired for continuing their quest, (against what seemed insurmountable odds) to use their land in the way set down by our Constitution.

The question has always been, who are the winners resulting from this Protection of Agricultural Land Policy?

In this case the winners are logically NOT those who dreamed up the onerous PAL Policy,and the resulting zonings, but the family who stuck to their guns and persevered strongly in the belief that they were being unfairly treated.

The other winner will be the builder and his ancillary suppliers who win the contract to build a home for the family.

The next question: What advantage would be gained by the Building Industry and others if the Common Law right to erect a dwelling, or update or alter existing improvements, on land held in fee simple, were restored to the approx. 30.000 land holders effected right across our State?

Now let’s have a look at another symbol of the absolutely unconscionable act of political bastardry that has been dealt to an octogenarian couple under the guise of The Protection of Agricultural Land Policy.

Here we have an ex. serviceman and his wife who are living in a weatherboard cottage that they purchased in 2005,(they are the fourth owners). AFTER being told that the house was structurally sound and met building regulations, and paying rates all this time for land and dwelling, the council now claims they have no record of a permit being issued for the building of the house.

This couple are now being asked to leave their home under the threat of eviction.

When I undertook to research the cause and effect of this PAL Policy some 12 months ago I was totally unprepared for some of the outcomes that have become evident.

The first was being invited to Hobart for a briefing on the reason we needed a PAL Policy.

I was informed by one of our politician’s advisers that this policy and the planning that went with it “was for the good of all the people”.

That was after contacting a number of Councils and estimating that approx. 30.000 titles across Tasmania had effectively had had their common law rights to use their land removed.

Then I became aware that Forestry had been included as ‘Agricultural’ under the PAL Policy, which gave them (Forestry) carte blanche to buy agricultural land for the purpose of creating Plantations.

All my research to this point indicates that the so called Protection of Agricultural Land Policy is so heavily skewed in favour of Forestry that the Policy has been misnamed.

Can our Parliamentarians under the guise of “for the good of all people” remove the rights of our fee simple title holders, devalue their property by up to 85% without compensation of any kind? Not even a reduction in rates?

There is a recent sworn valuation which bears out the 85% reduction in value.

The land now cannot be used for a place to live and so is virtually unsaleable.

Almost the same effect as confiscation without compensation of any kind.

Dictatorships are known to confiscate property (and gaol those who protest).

Last but not least, there is apparently a contract in existence between Gunns and Aprin Logging.

Is Aprin Logging a private company under the meaning of ‘private enterprise’?

Is it true as shown in ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE that Aprin Logging was given two Grants amounting to $1,051,948. 37. for the purchase new equipment in 2009?

Are private enterprise companies really entitled to use taxpayers money to this extent, or is this just another “free kick” to the chosen few for the “good of all the people”?

I certainly hope Aprin can fulfil their part of the contract without having the taxpayer as their interest free financier.

Trevor Grant.