Today’s announcement from Premier Baird regarding the government’s compulsory acquisitions process is well short of offering landowners and residents a fair process, according to Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong MP.
“Community pressure on the Baird Government has forced it to respond to a multitude of serious and legitimate concerns and I congratulate those who’ve worked so hard to get action on this issue.
“While I welcome the Premier’s and Minister Perrottet’s long overdue statements on reforming the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act, we need to be clear that what has been announced today does not address the major concern of hundreds of people undergoing compulsory acquisitions right now.Read more
Given the recent revelations concerning the Government's responses to the Russell Review of the compulsory acquisition process, it now is clear that the Premier failed to act on two key reports which were highly critical of the government’s compulsory acquisition process and functioning of the Valuer General's office.
The first dates back to May 2013 when the Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General, chaired by Liberal MP Matt Kean was released. This committee made 29 recommendations which included a number criticizing the fairness and openness of the land acquisition process and the functions of the Valuer General’s office, but the government did nothing to make the process fairer.
Mike Baird was Treasurer at this time when the Liberals embarked on hundreds of acquisitions for infrastructure projects including Westconnex, NorthConnex, Sydney Metro and the Sydney light rail, knowing the process regarding property valuations by the Valuer General was not transparent and was unfair in a number of ways.
Then in February 2014, the government received the Review from David Russell, SC, which was commissioned in 2012 and included guiding principles on how compulsory acquisitions should be dealt with by government.
Premier Baird admitted today in Question Time that the WestConnex acquisition process has not been ‘anywhere near as good as it should have been’.
The Premier highlighted that he has appointed Michael Pratt, the Customer Service Commissioner in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, to oversee a new process that will ensure that those affected by the Stage 3 acquisitions will get a more generous and caring ‘world’s best practice’ process.Read more
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.
Anti WestConnex nonviolent direct action continues as homes fall in Haberfield and exploratory drilling continues in St. Peters and Rozelle and Lilyfield.
Local community members are continuing to take nonviolent direct action in Haberfield and Ashfield against the M4 East WestConnex home demolitions. They are being arrested and are facing court proceedings as the bulldozers on many different demolition sites irrevocably destroy homes, communities and green space.
In the latest action on June 21, four local women from the newly formed group, Women Against WestConnex, were arrested in the grounds of a property in Chandos Street, Ashfield. The action was reported in detail here by Wendy Bacon and the women made a statement about why they took this action prior to being arrested.
Investigative journalist, Wendy Bacon describes the recent WestConnex demolitions in Haberfield.
Despite two Stop WestConnex occupations, a vigil, daily picketing and the strong opposition of Ashfield Council, demolition began last week and by Tuesday, three houses and some businesses had been turned into large piles of rubble and contaminated waste.
Demolition work stopped on the site of a massive WestConnex construction site in Haberfield heritage conservation area in Sydney’s inner west after residents complained about dust from asbestos and other waste produced in very windy conditions.
Scores of homes and businesses are slated for destruction in Haberfield, not because they are needed inside the tollway footprint, but because they are needed for the construction site.Read more
Media Release April 16, 2016
Two Haberfield residents were arrested this morning for occupying a home in Haberfield which is one of hundreds to be bulldozed by WestConnex. The residents, Sharon Laura and Bill Holliday, had joined other locals in the home in an effort to stop the demolition of homes for the highly controversial tollroad.
“Given the way the Baird government is ramming through this highly flawed project despite the masses of evidence showing that it won’t work and that it will be a social, environment and economic disaster, the community has had to resort to this to protect their homes and environment, said Jenny Leong, Greens MP and spokesperson on WestConnex.
“Communities have a right to non violent resistance and to insist that the government spends our money on projects that are sustainable, clean and economically viable - WestConnex is none of these - it’s just a cashcow for developers and tollroad operators, said Greens candidate for Grayndler, Jim Casey who joined local residents and No WestConnex and WestConnex Action group campaigners in front the home that will be demolished.Read more