Today in Parliament I asked the Minister for Infrastructure, Michael Ferguson, the following question:
Minister will you give a guarantee that all residents of Dynnyrne whose homes are being compulsorily acquired for the construction of the fifth lane of the southern outlet will have the benefits of s30(2) of the Land Acquisition Act?
This section of the Act provides:
Where the highest and best use of subject land was as a principal residence, compensation is to be determined, at the request of the claimant and with the consent of the Valuer-General, on the basis of the reasonable cost of rehousing the claimant as an owner in fee simple, at no cost to the claimant, in a suitable residence of at least equivalent standard and location in this State to that which the claimant has had taken.
This means that the home owner could receive compensation to the value of a replacement residence, if that is greater than the value of the home being acquired.
The Minister did give an assurance that residents would have access to the provisions of s30(2), although he also said that the government preferred negotiating a value with the owner.
My concern is that owners may lose out in this process – it is complicated and stressful, and many residents are in an emotional state as the homes they have loved for years are taken away from them.
We all know that moving house is stressful. But for the families of Dynnyrne Road, impacted by the proposed fifth lane on the Southern Outlet, it is even worse because they are being forced to leave much-loved homes where children have been raised and memories created.
Residents have been telling me they feel pressured to sell their homes to the Government by negotiation, rather than having the benefits of the more generous provisions of section 30(2) of the Land Acquisition Act put before them.
To be frank, I don’t have confidence that the Government is being fair to those who are having their homes taken from them.