This paper establishes a conceptual framework for understanding how land use in Queensland is administered.
The Australian States’ interest in land is derived from two distinct sources: the sovereign power, by which the State legislates; and the proprietorial power, by which the State acting as a ‘landlord’ conditionally disposes of its assets.
Historically, a resource such as land is made available for development when the owner (originally the State) allocates it to a potential user. A public authority then regulates the use of the resource; and the holder of the resource manages it to achieve personal goals. The various mechanisms by which these functions are performed are not interchangeable: each kind has its own intrinsic features which derive from its conceptual origin.
Land policies in Queensland have a number of features of national and theoretical interest. This paper discusses in particular the capacity of privately managed leasehold to achieve the public interest objective of sustainability, though there are occasional references to other States, resources other than land and other forms of tenure. It argues that the tenure-related mechanisms of allocation continue to be relevant, despite a contemporary lack of appreciation of them.