Motion on the WestConnex Independent Property Impact Assessment Panel

I've submitted the following Notice of Motion to our next Inner West Council meeting on Tuesday 21 April in regards to the recent reports of residents being left in limbo by the WestConnex Independent Property Impact Assessment Panel process.

Motion

THAT Council:

1. Notes the recent media reports about the delays being experienced by residents who have made property damage compensation claims to the WestConnex independent property impact assessment panel;

2. Writes to Transport for NSW to ask them to:

a. Immediately rectify any issues with the independent property impact assessment panel process that are causing unnecessary delays;

b. Publish its timeline for assessing property claims, including the timeframe that applies to the independent property impact assessment panel process, on the Transport for NSW and WestConnex websites as soon as possible;

c. Ensure that all claims for property damage arising from WestConnex construction are dealt with fairly, transparently and without delay.

3. Writes to the Minister for Transport to:

a. Express our deep concern about recent reports of the delays being experienced by residents who have made property damage compensation claims to the WestConnex independent property impact assessment panel, particularly given the large number of residents within the Inner West who will be impacted by the construction of the WestConnex M4-M5 Link Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link;

b. Call on him to ensure that:

i. Any issues that exist within the independent property impact assessment panel process that are causing unnecessary delays are rectified without delay;

ii. The timeline for making claims for property damage, including the timeframe that applies to the independent property impact assessment panel process, is published on the Transport for NSW and WestConnex websites as soon as possible;

iii. All claims for property damage arising from WestConnex construction are dealt with fairly, transparently and without delay.

Background

A number of residents have recently spoken to the media about the delays they are experiencing with the independent property impact assessment panel (the panel) established by Transport for NSW to assess claims for property damage arising from WestConnex construction.

The panel was established as a condition of approval for the WestConnex M4-M5 Link in response to complaints that residents who’d experienced property damage during the construction of previous stages had had their claims for compensation unfairly denied - and in some cases, not even assessed - by project contractors. 

According to that condition (E109), the panel comprises “geotechnical and engineering experts independent of the design and construction team”, and its role is as follows:

“The Panel will be responsible for independently reviewing Condition Survey Reports...the resolution of property damage disputes, and the establishment of ongoing settlement and vibration monitoring requirements...Either the affected owner or the Proponent may refer unresolved disputes arising from potential and/or actual property impacts to the Panel for resolution.”

However, residents who have submitted claims to the panel are now reporting being left in limbo for months at a time as the process stalls. In the meantime, the damage to their homes continues to worsen, increasing the cost of the required repairs.

This is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed on behalf of Inner West residents who have already experienced property damage that they attribute to WestConnex, as well as the thousands of residents whose properties may be at risk due to the construction of the WestConnex M4-M5 Link Rozelle Interchange and Iron Cove Link.

I therefore propose Council contacts Transport for NSW and the Minister for Transport to ask them to immediately rectify any issues with the panel process that are causing these delays; to publish the timeline involved in assessing property damage claims, so residents can be assured of the timeframe within which their claims will be assessed; and to ensure all compensation claims are dealt with fairly, transparently and without delay.


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