$1.8BN SPEND FOR SYDNEY METRO COMPULSORY ACQUISITIONS WHILE BAIRD REFUSES TO RELEASE RUSSELL REPORT
October 3, 2016
The Baird Government will pay out an estimated $1.8 billion to acquire properties for the Sydney Metro project – despite its continued refusal to release a report that would make the acquisition of homes fairer.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) reveal that the NSW Government will spend $1.8 billion to acquire 185 properties across 70 buildings, and 392 leasehold interests – to make way for the Sydney Metro CBD and Southwest project.
The Government has refused to disclose further information requested under FOI because owners and tenants who have reached settlement with the Government are being forced to sign a Confidentiality Deed, which includes a “condition not to disclose the amount paid for the property that has been negotiated.”
It comes as Premier Mike Baird continues to stall on the release the Russell Report on compulsory acquisition laws which was commissioned in 2012 and delivered to the Government in February 2014.
It was revealed Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet had urged the report never to see the light of day because it would be a risk to the state’s infrastructure program.
Following community backlash, the Government has agreed to release the report sometime ‘in the future’ but still refuses to say when.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the NSW Government had spent a total of $1.37 billion acquiring homes and businesses to make way for the Westconnex motorway.
This leaves the bill for compulsorily acquiring homes at more than $3.1 billion at a time when the Government is refusing to release a report which would guide a more transparent and fairer system for home and property owners.
NSW Labor is calling for the immediate release of the Russell Review, as well as the halt of all acquisitions until the review is released.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay
“Mike Baird continues to feign sympathy for the people whose homes he acquires while he still sits on a report that offers a fairer solution.
“With such a high price tag on what the Government will spend on acquiring properties for the Sydney Metro there needs to be equally high transparency of the process by which they’re acquired.
“We now know how much the Government will spend on acquiring properties and yet for two and a half years Premier Baird has been sitting on a report that could make the compulsory acquisition process fairer.
“The government should halt all acquisitions until the report is released.”