Conference paper
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Abstract: In 1973, the Federal Commission of Inquiry into Land Tenures identified that ‘in our modern complex society, an individualistic approach to property rights and land ownership is incompatible with public interest, unless individual rights are restricted to the use and enjoyment of the land’ (Else-Mitchell et al., 1973, p.17). We offer a theoretical inquiry into the institutional arrangements to enable an innovative land restitution model for Sydney within a new Republic, by vesting the superior interest in land (and buildings thereon) in the stewardship of the customary indigenous guardians (rather than the State or Crown). The model analyses leasehold solutions and land tax implications to ensure the continued economic growth of the City of Sydney under such a restitution arrangement. We have arranged this paper in three discrete yet complementary sections. We start with a review of the Republic debate, and then lead into a discussion on superior Aboriginal title. This sets the scene for looking at two solutions – a leasehold model and a land-tax model. We then offer some analysis and conclude with suggestions as to how this debate may move forward.

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