PREMIER Mike Baird has been slammed for misleading the NSW public about WestCONnex yet again as he was forced to defend the way residents and business owners have been treated during the WestCONnex compulsory acquisition process.
Arthur Alibrandi spoke out on ABC News last night about the settlement offered to his 82-year-old father, Joe, who has lived in his Haberfield unit for nearly 50 years. Mr Alibrandi said the amount offered by WestCONnex would make it “physically impossible” for his elderly father to stay in the area, despite this being “an important part of his wellbeing”.
In response, Premier Baird told the ABC: “At times, there has to be a provision for the majority, there are difficulties for some people as part of that...We're doing everything we can in terms of compensation, looking after them, provide provision for a new home.”
“Premier Baird is either lying or deluded if he thinks his government is doing ‘everything [it] can’ to look after people who stand to lose their homes or businesses to WestCONnex,” said WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Pauline Lockie, whose St Peters home is also marked for compulsory acquisition.
“Slater and Gordon lawyers, who represent about 70 property owners affected by WestCONnex compulsory acquisitions, told the Sydney Morning Herald they’re consistently seeing offers 20-50% below what their clients’ properties are worth.
“Dozens of people have also approached the WestCONnex Action Group to tell us they’ve been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars less than they should be.
“I’ve had elderly and vulnerable neighbours tell me their health is suffering as a result of the stress.
“It appears WestCONnex under Premier Baird is following a systematic strategy of making people fight for their legal entitlements at a time in which they’re already traumatised. But most people are too frightened to speak out publicly in case they're treated even more poorly.
“What’s even more appalling is that Premier Baird justifies this treatment by labelling WestCONnex as ‘provision for the majority’ when he’s failed to produce any evidence that this $15.4 billion tollway will benefit anyone.
“It’s time for Premier Baird to stop the secrecy and start being transparent about WestCONnex. He can start by releasing the WestCONnex business case and telling the truth about why people like Mr Alibrandi are being treated so badly,” said Ms Lockie.
Media Contact: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Garth Montgomery 0408 864 851