The NSW Farmers’ Association is strongly opposing the State Government’s intentions to make it much easier for Government and Councils to compulsory resume privately owned land for other than essential services such as roads, rail lines and telecommunications.
Speaking at the Association’s annual conference in Sydney yesterday, NSW Farmers’ president Jock Laurie says as a landholder, farmers should have the security of knowing that the land they inhabit is not at risk of being taken from them without undue cause.
“The structure of many farms also means that compulsory acquisition of parcels of land could render the property unviable or disaggregated to the extent that they are unworkable,” Mr Laurie said.
“It’s recognised that key community infrastructure requirements may need such powers, however concern arises when commercial ventures and planning proposals that are open to influence utilise such powers for the benefit of one party over the other.
“Proper consultation processes, open negotiation and independent assessment of the value of such projects must be in place to ensure appropriate decisions are made.”
Mr Laurie says a lack of security of tenure also affects a landholder’s piece of mind, business planning and financial position.
Under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 any authority of the State which includes Ministers, local councils, or statutory body has the power to acquire land by a compulsory process
“There are considered beliefs that projects such as wind farms in western NSW and other areas of the state may instigate the operation of these powers, with Local Governments implementing the powers to benefit themselves at the cost to the landholder,” Mr Laurie said.
“This is untenable, and we are seeking a commitment from the Government that it will not be the case.”
Farmers also voted today to oppose the blanket refusal of some Councils to allow the conversion of reserve roads to private ownership.
30 July 2008
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