“The Rural Communities Minister has today shown how fraught the Government’s land grab on Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) is,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.
“Private property rights are under threat thanks to the Government’s directive to councils to identify and manage SNAs.
“At the moment if someone’s land is taken, there is no plan for compensation. Damien O’Connor has today admitted that people who have their land rezoned and taken by councils may have a case for compensation.
“The Government needs to explain what is the criteria for compensation, will it be council or Government who pays the landowners and how much does he expect this to cost?
“It’s not good enough to simply take away someone’s private property rights. And it’s not good enough to wonder out loud about compensation with no plan to follow it through.
“SNAs undermine conservation efforts by the people who care most about the environment. Farmers have the biggest incentive to care about the environment because they make a living from it.
“If you take away property rights, there’s no incentive to be a conservationist. Who would be a conservationist on their own land if the reward is getting your land confiscated? Countries without property rights are environmental disasters.
“Actively punishing people if they look after their wetlands is among the worst policies this Government has put in place.
“There’s a better way. Landowners, councils and conservationists already work together to protect indigenous biodiversity. Instead of land grabs, the Government should be supporting these pre-existing efforts.
“ACT is listening. Public support is not there for SNAs and the Government needs to back down.”
ACT has launched a petition to stop the Significant Natural Areas land grab.