16 April 2024

Have your say on compulsory land acquisitions as the NSW Government seeks feedback in Wagga

| Chris Roe
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Dr Joe McGirr has encouraged locals impacted by projects like Humelink to attend the compulsory land acquisitions consultation in Wagga.

Dr Joe McGirr has encouraged locals impacted by projects like Humelink to attend the compulsory land acquisitions consultation in Wagga. Photo: HumeLink.

The State Government’s Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure is seeking feedback from Riverina residents ahead of a review of compulsory land acquisitions for communities affected by public projects.

In-person consultation sessions will be held at the Wagga RSL on Wednesday 17 April.

Minister Stephen Kamper said it was about “striking the right balance between landowners’ rights and the provision of essential public infrastructure”.

“Compulsory acquisitions are necessary at times to allow state infrastructure and other public projects to proceed for the benefit of the wider community, such as schools, roads, water and electricity infrastructure projects,” Mr Kamper said.

“However, there are opportunities to improve processes which are being explored by this review to help landowners negotiate more effectively on their compensation.

“We want to put people in the best position to understand their legal rights and ensure there are consistent and transparent acquisition processes across government.”

READ ALSO Navigating Inland Rail impacts: Dr Joe McGirr’s call for bypass solutions

The Land Acquisition Review will examine a whole of government approach to acquisitions under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act of 1991.

Member for Wagga Dr Joe McGirr welcomed the consultation sessions that he said were overdue when it came to those impacted by renewable energy infrastructure.

“Following the failed consultation process on the HumeLink project, I have been pushing hard for governments and developers to genuinely listen to local communities and act on their concerns, especially when land is to be compulsorily acquired for renewable energy infrastructure,” Dr McGirr said.

“Landowners have been all but ignored for too long while poles and wires or solar factories appear on properties against community wishes.

“While it has taken too long to get this review underway, I’m pleased that the government has now acknowledged a balance needs to be reached between the rights of landholders and the benefits of public infrastructure development.

“This is an opportunity for those in the path of public infrastructure works to be consulted, with the expectation that their concerns will actually be addressed.”

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Dr McGirr expressed concern that the review won’t include riverside landowners at risk of flooding from environmental flows.

“The rationale behind this approach is that flooding of farmland is not a property acquisition, but the fact remains that inundation of property causes major damage and is very costly to landholders, who deserve fair compensation, preferably paid in ongoing annual instalments,” he said.

“I urge anyone affected either by flow easements or any other negative impact from public infrastructure to make a submission to the review and demand a fair go.”

The Wagga session will be held on Wednesday, 17 April, from 10 to 11:30 am at the Wagga RSL Club and will commence with a short presentation about the Land Acquisition Review, followed by an opportunity to speak with the team.

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