Duncan Gay, the Minister for Roads, admitted in parliament this week that he didn’t know the government’s process around acquisitions for the Westconnex project.
When asked by the Labor opposition to confirm that many rental tenants have not been told their homes will be acquired, Gay said, “I do not know and, frankly, I should know. I would have thought we should contact both; certainly the owner of the premises. The short answer … is I do not know, and I will try to find out by the end of question time. It is a fair question.”
Months before they need to vacate, many renters are still in the dark about the timeline for acquisitions and the fact they’re entitled to up to $5,000 in compensation because the Westconnex Delivery Authority
“The Government’s process has been shambolic from the very beginning and this is just another example,” said Jo Haylen, the Member for Summer Hill.
“Some landlords have passed on information, but more often than not, they don’t have the information to pass on, meaning many renters have no idea what’s going on,” said Ms Haylen.
“The lack of a consistent approach means many tenants have fallen through the cracks,” said Ms Haylen.
Anthony Maher, who rents with his family on Northcote St, Haberfield, only found out his home was to be acquired through Facebook.
“I called the RMS and asked to be issued with a proposed acquisition notice, only to be told initially our house would not be taken, then a few hours later got called back to say it would,” Maher said.
“I rang our acquisition officer at the RMS to try to find out what the process is in regards to the fact that we are still renting on a 12 month lease. Do we need to break the lease first? Will our landlord allow that? What if the landlord sells to the RMS first? Do they become our landlord?” Maher said.
“The RMS have made no attempt to coordinate between the landlord and ourselves in this regard. So we are still very confused about the entire process,” Maher said.
“You expect the Government to be organised when it comes to a project of this size, but clearly, people are falling through the cracks. It’s appalling the Government is creating so much chaos,” Maher said.
“Tenants already get such a bad deal in the current housing market. And now the Government is leaving them in the dark. Its time for RMS to stop cutting corners and for the Minister to admit this process has been a mess,” said Ms Haylen.