Let’s review property rights - Speculation is driving decay

Let’s review property rights - Speculation is driving decay

The housing crisis could be resolved easily enough but doing that requires a change in philosophy and a reordering of priorities.

One fundamental change needed, as we have argued many, many times, is a rebalancing of our Constitution’s absolute protection of property rights with the common good.

Local authorities need to be able to use, in extreme circumstances, compulsory purchase orders to free land for housing.

They should do so by paying farm values plus a generous premium to make the process viable but our Constitution may need an amendment to make that a practical option.

An interim Government report has found another reason to make CPOs a more powerful agent for change.

The Department of Rural Affairs has found that a significant factor in the decline of villages and towns is that some property owners do not develop sites but refuse to sell them in the hope they might become more valuable.

Once again, an individual’s property rights trump the common good and communities can only look on as speculation-driven decay hollows out communities.

Yet, we look on as town after town becomes a boarded-up ghost of what it once was.

It is surely not beyond our wit to crack this nut in an equitable, society enriching way.

That the prospect of such reform is still so remote shows where our Government’s priorities, and loyalties, lie.

Change will not come easily but, as history assures us, it will come one way or another.

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