The NSW Government’s compulsory acquisition process for WestConnex is a disaster for home owners throughout Sydney's Inner West.
Many in St Peters, Alexandria, Haberfield and Ashfield are now compelled to take their cases to the Land and Environment Court in last ditch efforts to obtain fair compensation for the loss of their homes and the expenses of relocation. Others throughout Glebe and Rozelle are bracing for the impending notifications from the RMS that they will lose their homes.
The recent SMH report on this unfair process highlighted the situation facing homeowners and despite Premier Baird admitting in June and on Sydney radio 2UE today, that he has some reservations about the way the RMS is handling WestConnex compulsory home acquisitions, he has failed to act to make the process more equitable.
Homeowners are reporting coercive, bullying tactics from the RMS and are being forced into the courts if they won’t accept below market rates for their homes and inadequate compensation.
Additionally, the RMS is charging rent from the date homes have been acquired and months before negotiations have concluded. This is a discretionary charge and could be waived by the Baird government.
Given the untenable offers from the RMS, those affected are finding that they have no option but to take protracted and hugely expensive and stressful legal action as they are being uprooted from their homes and communities.
Premier Baird knows that the whole valuation and compensation process in NSW is broken. The 2013 Recommendations of the Joint Committee investigation into the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 concluded that the current system of compulsory acquisitions was "unfair and inadequate and made 29 Recommendations for improvement.
Landholders affected by WestConnex are being denied procedural fairness and through no fault of their own are being forced to relocate and fight for months attempting to achieve fair compensation from the NSW Government even according to the existing Act.
The WestConnex Action Group has published information about the compulsory acquisition process based on experiences that individuals have had when attempting to seek legal advice.