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Why Canberra’s land leasing failed

June 2, 2008

Australia’s capital, Canberra, was set up as a leased-land community, so that, as PM Edmund Barton said, “we shall be able to get the land on fair terms, lease it on fair terms and still make a profit for the Commonwealth.”  While economically land leasing can be similar to Henry George’s proposal to collect the land rent, serious mistakes were made.  In particular, lease rates were to be re-evaluated only every 20 years.  Thus, a lease could gain speculative value, and by the time revaluation was due a significant interest was opposed to it.

Details are in an article by Leo Foley, reprinted in the Australian Georgist journal Progress.

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