Aitken Partners Compulsory Acquisition Team recently held an information session with a panel of legal experts for people affected by, or interested in, the Crib Point to Pakenham APA Pipeline. More than 30 concerned locals attended the meeting, as did local State Member of Parliament Neale Burgess.
Team leader, Peta Olive, outlined the various rights to compensation landowners and tenants may be entitled to claim in a compulsory acquisition scenario while noting that at present, APA are attempting to enter into voluntary agreements with landowners.
“All people with property being acquired for a project like this have rights, whether they are landowners, tenants or businesses, that doesn’t change just because at this stage APA are attempting to enter into voluntary agreement with you,” Ms Olive said. “We want people to understand their rights early on in the process, which is why we host sessions likes this.
“There are many forms of compensation affected parties are entitled to and often with Pipeline Projects the physical impact to the property will not be apparent until well after the project has been completed and deals have been done. It’s important landowners and tenants know what they’re in for so that they can take this into account when they are negotiating.
“Class actions and the like do not work in these situations, everyone is different and the impacts on their properties, lives and/or business are also different.
“In the case of a compulsory acquisition, all reasonable costs will be met by the acquiring authority, and this generally includes all legal and property valuation costs. In the case of this pipeline, APA has already advised affected landowners that they will be meeting those costs as well. The voluntary negotiation and the compulsory acquisition process is complex so it’s important to engage experts to assist you to claim everything that you are entitled to.” Ms Olive said.
Questions from the floor centred around compensation for the devaluation in land and the timing of payments for things like stock resettlement, agistment and loss of income from reduced cropping.
Aitken Partners will continue to monitor the progress of APA and gas supplier AGL over the coming months and will regularly visit to the areas to talk with clients and others affected people.