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‘What a disgrace!’: Elderly couple dudded by compulsory land acquisition

Article image for ‘What a disgrace!’: Elderly couple dudded by compulsory land acquisition

Elderly Sydney couple David and Judy Kean have had their property turned upside down due to compulsorily land acquisition by the state government.

Sydney Water approached the couple three years ago and they agreed to sell a portion of their land for them to build a pumping station.

Due to the COVID pandemic, the construction was then put on hold.

It’s since restarted, and now Sydney Water has moved the goalposts on the original agreement, and the construction space has doubled in size.

No documents have been signed to approve the work and now there are plans to build pipework under their house which will allow access roads for heavy vehicles just outside their property.

“This is outrageous,” Jim said.

Press PLAY below to hear Jim’s full comments

Affected resident Judy Kean told Jim Wilson the whole situation is heartbreaking.

Ms Kean insists she has not had proper communication with Sydney Water, and nothing has been sent in writing.

“How dare they?!”

Press PLAY below to hear the full interview

Shadow Minister for Water Rose Jackson has seen the property personally and was shocked.

The Minister told Jim Wilson, it’s upsetting as the couple isn’t against infrastructure and just “wants a fair go”.

“We need to get these guys sitting around the table … and make sure they don’t get completely screwed,” she said.

Minister Jackson says it’s been “incredibly difficult” to get any attention to the situation.

Press PLAY below to hear more

Sydney Water’s full statement

“Sydney Water has undertaken extensive consultation to work with the family and negotiate a fair and equitable outcome in regards to the acquisition of part of this property.

Sydney Water acts in fairness to our customers who ultimately pay for all land acquisition and investment 

In fairness to all of our customers, who foot the bill, we have to pay market value for all acquisitions. 

The last offer was assessed by an independent valuer in accordance to the current market value and was supported as very fair given the properties zoning. 

In 2006 The Department of Planning rezoned the property as part of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Region Growth Areas) and is now zoned under community facilities and parkland.

The property owners have requested in writing that Sydney Water have no direct contact with them. 

Sydney Water has offered to relocate the couple, and pay their full rent, during the construction phase of the project but that offer has been rejected. 

The valuer general will now determine the value of the land and Sydney Water is committed to paying market value.