17 March 2021

Last month I spoke in the House about the plight of small landowners in and around Western Sydney airport. The continuing neglect by the state and federal governments on this issue is appalling. I attended a now recurring community meeting in Luddenham to discuss these issues with the people that are being affected. I was joined by several local state MPs, councillors and hundreds of irritated but very distressed residents. No-one is comfortable not being able to plan their future. Residents are frustrated, and we were told how it is affecting their health. They spoke with passion and reason.

The residents have not changed their outlook since the beginning. All they have wanted is answers. They need to know what lies ahead for their land and for their future investments, and they need an answer to why the federal and state governments have stayed silent and left these citizens in limbo. They need an answer to why there seem to be different rules for ordinary people, and an answer to when there will be transparency and fairness in the process. These land owners want to know which land will be purchased, when it will be purchased, and by which government agency. The fact that state and federal governments won't offer a timeline for these residents is bizarre, considering this has been on the mind of landowners since late 2018, when the rezoning commenced.

Residents now face a land value cut of over 10 times its original value; compare this to the overpayment of an original airport land by 30 times—it's shocking and unfair. However, it's much worse for some landowners. A local landowner Theo originally had his land valued at $11 million. Now his entire property has been designated as green space. The property is valued at $1; it's unsellable. I agree with the sentiments stated by the state Liberal member for Mulgoa, Tanya Davies, 'This is theft.' The member continued to stay at the meeting, she's ticked off at the government, and I support her. This government cannot expect the landowners and residents to give their land for free or deal with the uncertainty for years. Throwing away the financial future of hundreds of these families is not reasonable.

The residents are constantly facing stress and uncertainty. It is not a reasonable treatment by the state government, and it's not what residents and landowners want. I commend and thank Rob and Deb for their tireless efforts in organising such a well run community meeting. I hope that very soon the state government provides some certainty for these residents.