Western Sydney Aerotropolis land acquisition inquiry launched

An artist's render of a future building within the new Aerotropolis. Picture: NSW Government
An artist's render of a future building within the new Aerotropolis. Picture: NSW Government

Residents affected by the NSW Government's Aerotropolis 'land grab' are being urged to have their say in a parliamentary inquiry on the issue.

The Legislative Council inquiry into the acquisition of land in relation to major transport projects was announced earlier this month.

The inquiry will focus on the conduct of government agencies in acquiring land around the future Western Sydney Airport at Badgery's Creek, the North Wilton land purchased by Landcom, land around the Parramatta Light Rail Projects and more.

Opposition spokesman for western Sydney and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said the inquiry would highlight the 'injustices' experienced by western Sydney's small landowners.

"What has happened to residents around the Western Sydney Airport in regards to acquisitions and rezonings is disturbing, disgusting and disheartening," he said.

"We have already uncovered serious issues with how the NSW Liberals have treated those residents.

"I predict the inquiry will uncover more injustices to highlight this just how much disdain this government has for the people of Western Sydney."

Bringelly resident Joe Herceg agreed with Mr Warren.

He said the inquiry was 'absolutely needed'.

"We hope that it will bring to the surface a lot of issues and faults in the land acquisition process," he said.

"What's happening in Bringelly affects hundreds of landowners.

"Back in October lots of land near the airport was rezoned as an environment and recreation corridor - which has basically made people's land completely unsellable."

Mr Herceg said residents felt as if their futures' had been ripped out from underneath them.

"What they have done is come in and told us they would be acquiring the land as future parkland, but they won't tell us when it will happen or how they will buy it," he said.

"Some residents have been told it will be 10 years, some told 15 years, some told 20 years - and meanwhile they can't sell their homes or doing anything with the land as the government has already rezoned it as parkland.

"We have people who are very elderly and they can't sell so they can downsize, we have people who are sick and dying of cancer and they can't sell, we have families who are going through divorce and they can't sell - the stories are devastating.

"The government has been spruiking all these jobs and this big, new city, but the carnage underneath it all is the small landowners - the mums and dads who have worked for everything they have."

Mr Herceg said residents were simply asking for a more concrete process.

"We are not arguing with them about taking our land," he said.

"They've told us that the land has been acquired for green space, we just want them to acquire it in a timely manner.

"Buy it - just buy it at market value as soon as possible so people can move on with their lives."

Mr Warren encouraged affected residents to make a submission to the inquiry.

"I would encourage every resident impacted or not, as well as their family and friends to make a submission," he said.

"There is power in numbers and we, the people of western Sydney, need to show the NSW Liberals that we will not go quietly if they bully us or rip us off.

"The Aerotropolis should and could be a once-in-a-lifetime project, but it shouldn't be used by this money-hungry and heartless government as an excuse to rip people's homes from underneath them without fairly compensating them.

"This is an issue about fairness and equity - it is that simple."

The inquiry will also focus on how land for acquisition was identified, how negotiations were conducted with land owners, 'land banking' and more.

Macarthur MP Dr Mike Freelander said he was concerned Macarthur residents had indicated that they have had little to no consultation in regards to future land acquisition for public transport links to the new airport.

"The government has blatantly refused to properly equip our growing community with the appropriate infrastructure, and has allowed development to continue unchecked," he said.

"I strongly encourage all Macarthur residents who have been affected to make a submission to this Inquiry.

"Macarthur local residents are consistently treated with contempt by the Coalition - whether through the Berejiklian government's extortionate tolls, or the Morrison government's pork-barrelling of funds into rail solely for the north of the airport - they deserve to have their grievances heard by this Inquiry.

"It is my sincere hope that this Inquiry will provide local residents with a platform to share their experiences and hold the government to account for their dodgy deals."

This story Western Sydney Aerotropolis land acquisition inquiry launched first appeared on Camden-Narellan Advertiser.