02/11/2004 - 21:00

Critics want clarity on State acquisition

02/11/2004 - 21:00

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Critics of the State Government’s recent use of planning legislation to acquire land have argued that last week’s response by Government to a parliamentary report into voluntary acquisition of land fails to address the real issue confronting land holders.

Critics of the State Government’s recent use of planning legislation to acquire land have argued that last week’s response by Government to a parliamentary report into voluntary acquisition of land fails to address the real issue confronting land holders.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan last week announced that the Government supported a majority of the 37 recommendations outlined by the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Public Administration and Finance report on land use in Western Australia.

“As well as a 5 per cent premium for land voluntarily acquired from owner occupiers, the Government will provide ‘one-off’ reimbursements for independent legal and valuation advice to owners whose land has been the subject of a planning reservation,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“Compulsory acquisition obviously imposes a much greater burden on a land owner than a voluntary sale, but we need to recognise the non-financial impact on owner occupiers whose land is earmarked for reserve.

“Where property owners have their land affected by a reservation, they need to understand their rights and options.”

The Government faced intense criticism this year for its use of planning legislation to acquire land, particularly in relation to Metropolitan Regional Scheme re-zonings in Peel and Bunbury.

Former Real Estate Institute of Western Australia councillor (REIWA) Joe White, an advocate of private property rights, said the recommendations adopted by Government did not address the real issues.

“All land acquisitions should be done through the Land Administration Act and not planning legislation,” Mr White said.

“The 5 per cent premium is on the value of land after it has been driven through the floor through the systematic imposition of restrictions. In many ways it is misleading and meaningless. I would also argue that compulsory acquisition is fairer and less stressful to land owners as they are justly compensated. Voluntary acquisition goes through a different process, which wears down land owners and the value of their land.

“The problem with voluntary acquisition is the length of the process and the derision in land value that occurs.”

Spokesman for the Greater Region Action Body, which represents land owners affected by the Greater Bunbury Regional Scheme, Filip Guglielmana, said land owners were not interested in a 5 per cent increase in compensation.

“It is the process which is totally flawed, and we will be having a rally this week in Bunbury to protest,” Mr Guglielmana said.

Nationals MLA Brendon Grylls this week said the Greater Bunbury Regional Scheme would be shelved under a Coalition government until a comprehensive review had been completed into the issues that had made the scheme so objectionable to landowners.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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