An RTA spokesperson says it tries to negotiate a price with landholders that reflects the market value.
An RTA spokesperson says it tries to negotiate a price with landholders that reflects the market value.

RTA 'negotiates with landowners'

THE Roads and Traffic Authority claims it negotiates in “good faith” with all property owners over the compulsory acquisition of land along the Pacific Highway.

The comments follow revelations in The Advocate on Wednesday that a Woolgoolga blueberry farmer received a first offer of $500,000 for his farm and eventually settled for $1.3 million.

The property owner, who didn’t wish to be named, agreed to go public with his case, warning other landowners not to accept the RTA’s first offer.

Under the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade, the State Government is negotiating land purchases with 119 property owners.

Further south, the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade will impact 192 property owners who face full or part land acquisitions.

An RTA spokesman said the focus of all negotiations is to settle on reasonable prices reflecting market values.

“The RTA’s offers are based on independent valuations prepared by qualified property valuers,” the spokesman said.

“When purchasing land for major building projects, the RTA aims to get a fair deal for everyone involved in the acquisition.

“(We) always attempt to negotiate mutually acceptable terms and conditions of acquisition with landowners whose land is required for road work.”

Vincent Butcher of Slater and Gordon Lawyers Coffs Harbour says it’s important for landowners to know where they stand under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act.

When the RTA initiates the acquisition of land required for roadwork, the land owner should consult a valuer.

The RTA is required to reimburse for the cost of independent valuations.

If an agreement on the terms and conditions of acquisition cannot be reached, compulsory acquisition follows.

As part of this compulsory process, an independent determination is made by the Valuer-General.

The affected land owner then has the right to appeal this determination by lodging an objection in the Land and Environment Court.

After this time the RTA is bound by the court’s decision in matters of compensation.



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