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Labor’s Metro Decision Sparks Outrage in Western Sydney

March 8, 2023
Flo Mitchell

The NSW Labor Party has been accused of abandoning western Sydney locals with its decision to pull back on two Metro projects proposed by the Perrottet Government.

Labor may be scrapping plans for a Metro line from Parramatta to Bankstown and another one from St Marys to Badgerys Creek via Western Sydney Airport. However the current Government has already acquired the land from former owners and tenants to build the rail.

The position of the change in stance can leave former land owners very frustrated that their land was acquired for a public purpose, which can then be cancelled.

Labor leader Chris Minns announced that his party would support only two of the four Metro lines proposed by the government: a loop connecting Westmead, Parramatta, Olympic Park and Ryde; and an extension from Bankstown to Liverpool.

He said Labor would conduct a feasibility study into a fast rail network linking regional centres with Sydney instead of building more Metro lines in the city.

“We need a balanced approach that invests in both metropolitan and regional NSW,” he said. "We can’t afford to waste billions of dollars on projects that don’t stack up."

But Transport Minister Rob Stokes slammed Labor’s decision as “short-sighted” and “irresponsible”, saying it would jeopardise thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment. If there is a total abandonment of the rail, then the legal rights of the former owner may entitled them to buy back the land that was acquired. Those owners in the above areas may have this legal right. However this has only happened once in the past and the former land owner has to pay the market value of the land at the time it is offered back to them. Most owners would have already repurchased replacement land by the time of being offered to buy back their former land so it is a legal right that is going to be very limited in its use. The changes of the full project being abandoned though may take years, by which time another change in government could reverse the decision again! In land acquisition, there is very little certainty which is why most owners sell and replace their land as it is the safest option.

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