Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, called on Roads and Maritime Services to stop stalling and negotiate with homeowners over the valuations for their compulsorily acquired properties in the lead up to Christmas.
“It’ll be a nervous Christmas for many residents and once again, the process of compulsory acquisitions for Westconnex has been shambolic and unfair,” said Ms Haylen.
“Homeowners are understandably frightened and furious that they still don’t know what they’ll be offered for their properties,” said Ms Haylen.
The gap between private valuations and those offered by RMS is over $150,000 in some cases and RMS has ceased to negotiate with some homeowners, with the majority of Property Acquisition Notices (PAN’s) due to expire a week before Christmas.
Once PAN’s expire, the Valuer General makes a determination of value, with costly action through the Land and Environment Court the only recourse for homeowners.
“RMS should stop stalling, negotiate in good faith and fairly compensate homeowners displaced for this ill-conceived project,” said Ms Haylen.
“With Christmas around the corner, the Government is holding residents to ransom,” said Ms Haylen.
“These residents aren’t being greedy. They want to be fairly compensated for the loss of their homes and to be able to afford to buy in the area,” said Ms Haylen.
David Elliott lives and operates his accounting business from his home on Parramatta Road and is being forced to relocate for Westconnex.
“I have been operating my Accounting business from my Haberfield home since 2010 and I also provide Justice of the Peace [JP] services for the local community,” said Mr Elliott.
“Almost half of my clients live locally but with the compensation RMS is offering me for my business relocation, disturbance and residence, I am unable to buy anywhere in the area & may lose a considerable portion of my client base as a result,” Mr Elliott said.
“The initial RMS valuation re our property was $400,000 under our independent valuation, representing more than a third of our total independent valuation. They have since revised the offer upwards by just $100,000,” said Mr Elliott.
“I believe valuers contracted by RMS should be held accountable where their valuations fall well below either; the final settlement price paid by RMS or the Valuer General valuation amount,” said Mr Elliott.
“It appears it will be the last Christmas in Haberfield for us and due to the stress caused by this matter we have simply lost our Christmas spirit,” said Mr Elliott.
“Our only hope now is that the Valuer General process will provide us with a fair & reasonable outcome before Christmas so we can at least restore some Christmas spirit” Mr Elliott said.
“It’s not fair that we all have to live with this uncertainty. The Roads Minister Mr Duncan Gay and the Premier really need to know how the RMS handling of this compulsory acquisition process is negatively impacting on our lives. Any reasonable person would have compassion for residents in these circumstances,” Mr Elliott said.
Mr Elliott’s PAN expires on 11th December. With still no settlement reached with RMS and little hope of reaching a settlement before PAN expiry it will be a nervous wait for the Valuer General’s upcoming valuation report.
“The Government has chosen to build this toll-road in the middle of a property boom, however expects homeowners to bear the cost,” said Ms Haylen.