New land tenure reform needs accountability and transparency

The McGowan Labor Government announced a reform program for the Land Administration Act to deliver greater economic opportunities for proponents and existing right holders over Crown land.
Shadow Minister for Planning, Lands and Heritage the Hon Neil Thomson MLC has raised concerns that previous governments have tried and failed to deliver significant reforms on this front.
“In 2002, the then Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Alannah MacTeirnan set up a review under the leadership of the then Vice Chancellor of UWA Al Robson but failed to deliver anything meaningful,” Mr Thomson said.
“This McGowan Labor Government has flagged a proposed Diversification lease as an alternative to pastoral leases, but like the people of WA, I will suspend judgement until a Bill is presented because reform is needed.”
He continued, “the roll out of Section 91 licences to renewable energy companies is ad-hoc and lacks accountability.”
Mr Thomson has pointed out that Section 91 licenses are fraught with risks of corruption, if not managed with proper transparency.
“Competitive and open processes should be the norm in our land tenure system and this is not happening, instead we are seeing secretive and lucrative deals done with WA Labor’s mates.
“There is a huge opportunity to do the right thing, now that Native title has been largely determined across Western Australia.
“The State should endeavour to better align our land tenure system to Native title to enable economic development opportunities and reduce red tape for both traditional owners and proponents who seek to work closely with traditional owners.”
Mr Thomson has suggested that any proposed reforms should be supported with a strong Regulatory Impact Assessment.
“WA Labor has no economic discipline and it is resorting to ideologically driven policy which increases red tape and destroys jobs.”