Tuesday 5 May, 2015
The SA Liberals and Independent Member of the Legislative Council, John Darley, are calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the compulsory acquisition of houses by the Government after reports of neglect and misapplication of the Act.
“A number of confused residents have voiced their concerns to Mr Darley and myself,” said Shadow Minister for Transport Corey Wingard.
“They have been ignored by the Government, told their house might be compulsorily acquired, then left waiting for years, unable to make improvements to their homes, or move anywhere else.
“It is evident that the Government has no clear plan for the North-South Corridor Project. Families are left in limbo and swindled out of their family homes due to the Government’s indecision and chaos.
“Every time the project plans change, residents hear another story from the Government leaving them in limbo for years.”
Independent MLC John Darley said, “It is clear that people feel like they aren’t being treated fairly by the government. I haven’t spoken to one person who has wanted to stand in the way of progress; they just want to be treated fairly.
“Government compulsory acquisitions were never a problem when I was the CEO of the Lands Department 40 years ago. The Act hasn’t changed but it seems the objectives and policies of DPTI have. They are certainly not operating within the spirit of the Act and little regard has been given to the fact that they are dispossessing people of their most important asset – their family home.”
Both Members fully support the project and call on the Government to finalise plans, respectfully complete negotiations with residents and dispossessed owners, and use the available Federal funds to make the project happen.
The Committee will provide an opportunity for those who feel they have been dudded by the Government to have their say on their experience with the acquisition process as well as scrutinizing the Government’s actions.
Below is a copy of the motion introduced to Parliament.
Parliamentary Inquiry into the Acquisition of Houses – Motion.
To establish a Select Committee of the Legislative Council to inquire into the following matters related to the compulsory acquisition of properties as part of the State Government’s North-South corridor upgrade:
a) Current acquisition policies and procedures of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure including a comparison of the effectiveness of these policies compared to past practices of DPTI and the rehousing Committee
b) the role of the Crown Solicitor’s office in the acquisition process;
c) the effect the compulsory acquisition process has had on dispossessed owners, including:
a. their ability to purchase another property;
b. changes to personal, financial and psychological circumstances,
d) DPTI’s requirement to negotiate, in good faith, with dispossessed owners;
e) the fairness of compensation offers made to dispossessed owners;
f) the use and relevance of market value when considering compensation;
g) valuation practices and methodology used in determining compensation;
h) the ability for dispossessed owners to exercise their legal rights and
i) any other relevant matters.