East-West link compensation a long time off finalisation

Stephen TaylorJuly 16, 20130 min read

The question of fair compensation is naturally occupying the minds of the owners of the 118 properties being compulsorily acquired for the East-West Link.

Premier Denis Napthine has promised to give residents ‘’fair compensation’’ for their homes and other expenses they will incur, but the question remains: ‘’What is ‘fair’? and when will this ‘fair’ figure be timeframed? Surely not right now, when values must have plummeted since the announcements became louder and the affected locations more precisely known.

The first stage of the contentious $6-$8 billion tunnel project will require the purchase and demolition of 92 homes and 26 commercial buildings as part of the first stage of the 6km project.

Another 258 properties will be affected by a tunnel underneath their properties, leaving the door open for owners to seek fair recompense on a case-by-case basis, News Ltd papers report.

And the owners of a block of houses in the path of the on-ramp of the proposed freeway received contact from the Linking Melbourne Authority earlier this week.

Case managers from the authority will negotiate the compensation, including legal and other association expenses, with affected residents, the government say.

Compensation is assessed under the Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, plus any additional amounts and allowances which may apply, such as replacement property costs.

A property valuer assesses the value of the land without regard for any of the perceived negative effects of East-West Link.

Landowners also may claim ‘’reasonable’’ fees of professional advisors, such as a solicitor and/or land valuer, during the acquisition and compensation negotiations.

Some owners may even get extra compensation - above the market value of their land - depending on their circumstances. The authority will look at the length of time they’ve lived there, the inconvenience they’ve suffered and their age.

After receiving a Notice of Acquisition and an offer, affected residents can request an advance of the offer. The authority says payments will be made within 30 days of receiving the request -- without affecting an owner’s entitlements to continue negotiating a final settlement.

Once agreement is reached on the amount of compensation payable, the balance owing is reportedly paid ‘’as soon as possible’’.

Works on the project connecting the Eastern Freeway to the northern and western suburbs are due to start at the end of next year and the first stage is expected to take five years to complete.

Stephen Taylor

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