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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 79

(Question No. 4839)

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, upon notice, on 22 October 1986:

(1) When was he or any of his departmental officers first contacted by the Minister for Aviation or his departmental officers concerning the acquisition of land for the proposed Badgerys Creek airport site.

(2) Was a (a) time scale for the acquisition of land at Badgerys Creek and (b) 1986-87 budgetary allocation discussed or agreed upon; if not, why not.

(3) Did he at any time indicate that the $9.5m allocated for compensation for Badgerys Creek was inadequate and would cause problems for his NSW departmental staff, as well as great distress for affected landholders; if so, when did he give this indication and was a more adequate figure proposed.

(4) If he did propose a more adequate figure, what sum was proposed; if not, why not.

(5) How many properties will the $9.5m acquire and when will the compensation be paid.

(6) How many private and Government valuer valuations were made before the withdrawal of the offer of the Government-financed private valuations and will those valuations be valid in 1987-88.

(7) Have there been significant differences between the valuations of property and houses by private valuers and Government valuers; if so, what were the differences and how did his Department settle the valuations and any subsequent compensation pay-outs.

(8) Why, in August 1986, did he withdraw the option for affected landholders to have their land valued by a privately commissioned valuer at the Government's expense.

(9) Who does the Government use as its independent valuer.

(10) Are all real estate valuers employed by the Commonwealth to value properties for acquisition in the Badgerys Creek area qualified and registered with the appropriate organisations; if not, why not.

(11) Have the Commonwealth valuers used for Badgerys Creek valuations been the subject of investigations by the New South Wales Government Real Estate Valuers Registration Board; if so, what have been the outcomes of any such investigations.

(12) How many years will it take to satisfy the acquisition requirements for Badgerys Creek with an annual allocation of $10m.

(13) Is legislation being considered which would require the Commonwealth to acquire all voluntary acquisitions within a far shorter time span than is likely to be the case with Badgerys Creek; if not, why not.

(14) If a statutory limit is being considered, what period of time is being considered.

(15) Does he have (a) an unallocated portion of the $9.5m allocated for compensation, (b) a special fund or (c) an ability to transfer finance from another program to allow special acquisitions in emergency situations; if not, why not.

(16) If he does have the funds referred to in part 15, what sums are involved and will he allocate the maximum amount possible to the acquisition of land for the proposed airport.

(17) What are the details of consultation and co-operation between his Department and the New South Wales Department of Environment and Planning over the siting of the airport at Badgerys Creek.

(18) If there has not been any consultation and co-operation, why not.

(19) Does the Macarthur regional plan released in 1986 contain provision for the Badgerys Creek airport site; if not, is a supplementary plan being prepared and, if so, when will it be released.

(20) If the Macarthur plan makes no provision for Badgerys Creek airport, will this cause planning difficulties for the local councils involved and for landholders in the area, as there is a freeze on all planning permits in those municipal areas until the plan is released.

Mr Uren —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) On 15 December 1985, the Project Director (Second Sydney Airport), Department of Aviation visited the Sydney office of my Department to discuss the anticipated announcement of a selected site for a second Sydney airport. Discussions revolved around the requirement for planning controls, the method of acquisition and resources. There had been consultation between the Department of Aviation and my Department on the generality of the project during the planning and environmental assessment phase prior to that time.

(2), (3) and (4) Given that any actual airport development (and therefore any need for physical possession of properties) was at least 5 years and probably 10 years away it was indicated that my Department would propose to respond to requests from affected landowners for acquisition of their properties rather than engage in an aggressive campaign of acquisition.

At a meeting on 3 March 1986 the 1986-87 budgetary allocation was first discussed. My Department provided some preliminary estimates for acquisition costs. The estimate provided for 1986-87 was $9.5m on the assumption that about 20 per cent of landowners (i.e. about 50) would seek to sell immediately.

By April 1986 a significant number of property owners had sought a valuation of their property although very few of those had indicated a firm desire to sell immediately. By 8 April my Department advised the Department of Aviation that the rate of acceptance by owners of offers made by the Commonwealth was increasing. During Budget considerations, Government decided to acquire in 1986-87 only those properties where the Commonwealth had already made a firm offer to purchase and for those cases where owners had entered into a commitment to purchase a replacement property on or before 25 July 1986.

In late July and early August, the number of property owners wishing to sell increased dramatically. This coincided with speculation in the press over the lack of certainty about the timing of actual airport development and speculation over a possible limit on available funds in both the 1986-87 and ensuing financial years.

(5) The $9.5m allocation will enable the purchase of 50 properties. Settlement of the purchases of these 50 properties is expected to be completed by February 1987.

(6) 71 Commonwealth valuations had been completed and 21 private valuations had been received, prior to withdrawal (on 26 August 1986) of the offer to pay the cost of private valuations.

The Commonwealth valuation program is being maintained and landowners are being advised of the results of valuations as they are completed to assist them with longer term planning. Valuations are current only for a limited period and would need to be reviewed at the time that acquisition of the property was to proceed.

(7) There have been differences between Private and Commonwealth valuations. These have been up to 15% but mostly of the order of 10% which is more or less normal in commercial practice. Where there are differences the Commonwealth valuer is asked to review his valuation in the light of the Private valuation. In these instances the Commonwealth valuer usually contacts the Private valuer to seek out reasons for the difference. Where the private valuer produces evidence of which the Commonwealth valuer was not aware, and which is material evidence for valuation purposes, or if other reasonable grounds are advanced to indicate the Commonwealth valuer was low in his estimate then the official valuation is increased. An increased offer is then made to the landowner.

(8) In those cases where my Department will not now be able to acquire properties this financial year, the offer to pay for a privately commissioned valuation was withdrawn for the time being. This action was taken to ensure the most effective use of the limited funds available and to ensure that the private valuation obtained by the property owner would be current at the time of negotiation for sale of the property to the Commonwealth. (The Commonwealth is prepared to pay the cost of only one private valuation for each property).

(9) Commonwealth valuers employed in the Valuation Branch, Australian Taxation Office, Department of the Treasury.

(10) Commonwealth valuers employed in the Australian Taxation Office are professionally qualified. Each valuer has completed an approved course of study (at degree or diploma level), and is eligible for Associate membership of the Australian Institute of Valuers.

(11) The Real Estate Valuers Registration Board did contact the Australian Taxation Office about its policy on the registration of valuer personnel. The Attorney-General's Department advised that valuers working in the Australian Taxation Office are not required to be registered under the Valuers Registration Act 1975 (NSW).

(12) No decisions have been made on the level of funding beyond 1987/88.

(13) Revised Lands Acquisition legislation is at an advanced stage of drafting. It is intended that the draft legislation be tabled for public discussion in the not too distant future. In the meantime it is inappropriate to speculate on what the Parliament may decide upon.

(14) See (13).

(15) The Government has limited the funds available in 1986/87 to $9.5m to acquire those properties where the Commonwealth had already made a firm offer to purchase and for those cases where owners had entered into a commitment to purchase a replacement property on or before 25 July 1986. Requests are being received from owners who do not fall into these categories, seeking purchase of their property on the grounds of hardship. These cases are being considered on their merits and are to be referred to the Government as additional requirements.

(16) See (15).

(17) In consultation with my Department and the Department of Aviation, the New South Wales Department of Environment and Planning is finalising details of planning controls to be imposed over the site. A draft State Environmental Planning Policy has been prepared by the Department of Environment and Planning. Further consultations are proposed before the Planning Policy is implemented.

(18) See (17).

(19) It is understood that the New South Wales Department of Environment and Planning has prepared a Macarthur Regional Environmental Study and it is considering submissions in relation to that study. The study deals with matters around the site such as access and potential noise contours. It is generally independent of the State Environmental Planning Policy, which specifically addresses development controls within the site and the height of structures in the surrounding area.

It is the intention of the Department of Environment and Planning to prepare a Macarthur Regional Environmental Plan in due course after considering submissions on the Study and after further consultations with the Local Government authorities and the Commonwealth-particularly the Department of Aviation in relation to development of the airport. Planning controls are initiated by the State in consultation with the Commonwealth and future planning is a State responsibility.

(20) See (19).