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C10310 : Property Economics

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C10310 : Property Economics

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Course Code: C10310
University: University Of Technology Sydney

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Country: Australia


As these are academic essays, they should have the features of such essays. Essays are reasoned arguments leading to persuasive conclusions. They should include citations to substantial published literature. An essay that depends entirely or mainly on Wikipedia/blog/newspaper/Facebook information is unlikely to succeed. Similarly, an essay that is understandable but does not engage, cite, and/reflect on any learned pieces (e.g., journal articles, books, book chapters, and conference papers) will not be well rated and is likely to fail. Table 2 below describes how your essay is assessed. You are encouraged to cite other readings used in the subject or additional readings that you are familiar with. All citations should use standard (author, date) citation format.


To settle at the property ownership policies and guidelines followed today, different economies have gone through a chain of trial and error approaches where the policies which seemed not to work as expected were abandoned and new ones adopted. Land ownership is the major property asset which has undergone a chain of phases in different economies. Although there might be slight deviations in the alignment of the phases, most of the economies have followed closely similar routes. This paper reviews an article by Brennan “Canberra in Crisis: a history of land tenure and leasehold administration. Dalton Pub.Co, Canberra” which scrutinizes the phases of land ownership to realize the current state in Australia.
Brennan introduces his work by quoting the principle of English land law which entitled land ownership to the crown and who were the colonies in different countries and nobody had absolute ownership of land except the crown. This has been supported by the evidence that Captain Arthur Phillip on his arrival in Sydney Cove had established a penal colony to acquire all the land. This was just the same case with the rest of the countries especially those went through the colonization process.
Brennan has presented the land ownership in Australia to have undergone three critical phases: crown grants (1788-1830), land sales and pastoral license (1831-1861) and selection before survey (1861-1894). Each of these phases had some unique policies which were followed and after which they could be abandoned considering their effectiveness in achieving the amender’s goals.
In the first phase, ownership of land was a reward or grant from the colony to those who successfully served their sentence. It was also given to the free immigrants and the marines who cared to stayed in the colony. So, those who could own land at the juncture were the only these three groups; emancipists, free immigrants and marines. These grants however came with restrictions in that they remained tax free, fees free and quit rents for the first initial 10 years after which they attracted an annual quit rent of one shilling for every 10 acres.  As the policy continued in operation, opposition crop up as the policy was pointed out to be a measure of self-sufficiency, a trend which continued even after Philip left and Grose took over by making land grants to his corps unconditionally and allowing them to even traffic on it.
During this period, cartels seem to be using any means to become great land owners just as it is in the current times. This is evident from the case Brennan presents to us of the New South Wales Corps, the unscrupulous exploiters who were using commerce and trade as a way of realizing their ambitions as great owners of land. The trend was however realized after the granted people began selling the land at profit bases without having improved anything and that led to the abolishment of land grants between 1821 and 1825 by Governor Brisbane who restructured the granting process to consider the level of investment and the number of laborers any granted land could employ. This new system attracted more criticism however because it was linked with increased favoritism and corruption.
As a result of the failure of the 1788-1830 approach, sale of crown land under public auction was adopted as a way of acquiring land. Land could therefore be disposed at a reserve price of five shillings per acre. According to this approach, it was argued that it would prevent dispersion of settlement and avail adequate labor supply. This approach found its support from the Wakefield theory who argued that leisure class must have servants to work for them but with time the laborers may get money to purchase their own land leaving the leisure class without servants. So he advocated for the land to be made expensive so that the laborers would remain as servants benefiting themselves and their bosses. This was faced with high opposition because it was seen to play far from a static society but supported by the well to do contemporaries of England.
Following the constant dissension and agitation of land ownership process, the third phase came in, section before survey period (1861-1894) and which was very slow to pick because of various reasons. Among the reasons was human greed which saw people oppose the land reforms in the fear that they would lose most of their ill acquired land. Faulty legislations which were being enacted in London were basically in favor of settlers because they were mainly supporting their home economy and the reforms would limit the chances of the revenues which were being acquired out of their role in the colony. Poor administration is the third factor which played a crucial role in preventing land reforms during the period because leaders could be easily compromised.
So, this last phase was born in late 1861 and which enabled people to settle at land patches of squatter’s leasehold and afterwards getting the exact boundaries being surveyed and claim the land ownership by residing there and paying a $1 an acre purchase money in instalments. This commenced after the end of the first 14 years of lease period. From the moment, people could select land blocks of crown land and later on get surveyed to act as ownership proves. Although this policy seemed to work to some extent, it was faced by its own challenges.
One of the best sides of this article is its deep evaluation of the incidences which were surrounding land ownership in Australia. Brennan deeply dug deep into the events and motivators of what was taking place behind the scenes. For instance, instead of presenting the allocation land as mere consideration to the settlers, he has gone further to indicate that settlers had crucial roles in their home economy in London and so they could be favored with an eye on those benefits. So, the motivating factor behind most of the policies which were being enacted aimed at benefiting the economy of England and not the real land owners as we see in the second phase where money obtained from the sales was to be devoted in real and essential services like emigration of the unemployed English laborers in order to relieve economic distress which was facing England.
Brennan’s arguments are also enlightening as far as the consequences of uncontrolled property ownership policies are concerned. For instance, through the mismanaged land ownership practices and which were mainly focused on benefiting the colonial masters, we realize the economic distress which faced Australia when the unemployment rates began to rise and trade deteriorated adversely. This is a warning to current economies which don’t put consideration on the policies being enacted to regulate economic practices within the country that they may overturn to cause serious negative impacts. So, policies touching on the economic resources should be taken serious through evaluations and engagement to come out smoothly.
Unfortunately, Brennan’s arguments throughout the article have focused on the side of the colonial master and did not incorporate the side of the Australian residents and which can easily be biased because the colonial masters did not have any agenda for the economy of Australia but their own in England. If only Brennan could argue on the side of residents also, who anticipated the outcome of the uncontrolled property policy we would be in a position to judge the validity of his claims. This can be drawn from the instance where we get to know that the motivating factor behind most of the policies which were being enacted aimed at benefiting the economy of England and not the real land owners as we see in the second phase where money obtained from the sales was to be devoted in real and essential services like emigration of the unemployed English laborers in order to relieve economic distress which was facing England.
Generally, Brennan work was exemplary as it gives a clear picture of the far it has taken for countries to attain their current land ownership regulations. We get to also realize that the common practices we see today of the rich striving to amass huge acres of land using the power of money started earlier on. It also acts as a warning to the countries whose property ownership regulations have not been revisited yet because it may lead to serious economic consequences as it has been seen in the Australian economy. So, countries should pay much attention on property regulatory policies to avoid some of the consequences like increased rates of unemployment and increased inflation rates among others.
Brennan, F. 1971, Canberra in crisis: a history of land tenure and leasehold administration. Dlton Pub. Co, Canberra
Brown, N. (2015). The Seven Dwarfs: A Team of Rivals. In The Seven Dwarfs and the Age of the Mandarins: Australian Government Administration in the Post-war Reconstruction Era. ANU Press.
Hodgson, G. M. (2015). Much of the ‘economics of property rights’ devalues property and legal rights. Journal of Institutional Economics, 11(4), 683-709.
Kerr, S., Colton, J., Johnson, K., & Wright, G. (2015). Rights and ownership in sea country: implications of marine renewable energy for indigenous and local communities. Marine Policy, 52, 108-115.
Mangioni, V. (2014). Emerging Trends of State Land Tax and Local Government Rate Revenue in Australia. Pacific Rim Property Research Journal, 20(2), 145-160.
Paterson, A. (2018). Once were foragers: The archaeology of agrarian Australia and the fate of Aboriginal land management. Quaternary International, 489, 4-16.
Porter, L., & Barry, J. (2015). Bounded recognition: urban planning and the textual mediation of Indigenous rights in Canada and Australia. Critical Policy Studies, 9(1), 22-40.
Porter, L., & Barry, J. (2016). Planning for Coexistence?: Recognizing Indigenous rights through land-use planning in Canada and Australia. Routledge.
Smyth, D., & Isherwood, M. (2016). Protecting sea country: Indigenous peoples and marine protected areas in Australia. Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia’s marine protected areas, 307-325.
Small, G. (2016, February). Obsolescence arising from the transformation of property rights due to the effect of sea level rise: a property economics perspective. In Geography Research Forum (Vol. 34, pp. 109-122).
Turvey, R. (2017). The economics of real property: an analysis of property values and patterns of use. Routledge.
Weirick, J., & Fischer, K. F. (2017). Canberra:’Normalization’or ‘the Pride of Time’?. In Planning Metropolitan Australia (pp. 178-202). Routledge.

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