NSW moves for peaceful purchases
The New South Wales Government will be “more generous” and “more caring” in its next land grab.
NSW Premier Mike Baird and Property Minister Dominic Perrottet have announced changes to the way compulsory land acquisitions are performed.
“These are significant reforms,” Mr Baird said.
“We've gone, in many cases, above and beyond what was recommended.”
Changes include increasing the compensation for home owners forced to relocate by $50,000 dollars to $75,000.
There will also be a fixed six-month negotiation period, and any home owners who are still in their house after it has been acquired will have their the first three months’ rent covered.
Additionally, every owner of a property to be acquired will be appointed a personal manager.
“Never again will someone find out that their homes will be acquired through receiving a letter in the mail,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We will be with you each step of the way from the moment of that knock on the door until the moment you are settled into your new house.”
The Premier said it would make property acquisitions less imposing.
“From a Government point of view they don't do caring - as a general principle - well,” Mr Baird said.
New compensation rates will be backdated to February 2014, but the rent exemption will not.
The Government rejected a recommendation to provide compensation on a reinstatement basis so that home owners can purchase a similar house in a similar area.
The NSW Government buys an average of 400 homes per year, and Mr Perrottet says the Government needed to change its thinking.
“Some of the concerns that certainly arose in relation to the WestConnex project has evolved our thinking,” he said.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley questioned Mr Baird’s timing.
“It's taken 1,000 days for Mr Baird to respond to a report that told him his Government was treating families and business owners unfairly,” Mr Foley said.
“Mr Baird hasn't had some road to Damascus conversion where he's woken up this morning and said finally; ‘I better give a measure of justice to these families’.
“He's doing this because he's in political trouble, just like the greyhound ban back down.”