WestConnex headphones limiting compensation and accountability for impacted residents

In Budget Estimates last week, Abigail asked about the bizarre move by WestConnex to send noise-cancelling headphones and respite deeds to impacted residents. These deeds limit the ability of residents to seek further compensation and talk to media about the damage caused to their homes.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: As I am sure you are aware, a Rozelle homeowner and his son were reported in the news as having been sent two pairs of noise-cancelling headphones and a respite deed after complaining to WestConnex contractor John Holland about the unbearable noise caused by the boring machines underneath their home. How many residents have been asked to sign such deeds that limit their ability to pursue further compensation from the project, or to talk to the media?

Ms DROVER: The Rozelle Interchange is being delivered by its contractor, obviously, and they are responsible for complying with the conditions of approval for the project. A part of that, of course, is ensuring that noise is mitigated and addressed on the way through. As part of the conditions of approval there are a number of mitigation measures that are offered to the community to address the noise issues. They do include the noise-cancelling headphones…

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Thank you and I am sure that is certainly better than nothing, to receive those noise-cancelling headphones. I am particularly interested in why the contractor was using deeds and requiring residents to sign deeds to say that they would not seek any compensation and that they would not talk to the media about it. Were you concerned by the report in relation to those deeds? Were you aware?

Ms DROVER: We obviously did see that report in the media. I do not have any particular information but I can take on notice and see what we can provide. The contractor needs to meet its obligations, that there was no involvement of Transport in those deeds. But, as I said, we can take on notice to come back to you about those deeds.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Thank you. If you could take on notice how many of those residents have been asked to sign those deeds. Also if you could take on notice what the department's response has been in relation to that report and whether or not you have contacted John Holland with any concerns. That would be very useful.

Ms DROVER: Happy to take it on notice.


Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Could you take on notice how many properties have been damaged by WestConnex so far, how many residents have received compensation for damage to their homes and what the average value of compensation received is?

Ms DROVER: Okay. I can say that 51 matters have been escalated to the IPIAP panel and that is right across the WestConnex portfolio. I think there is only one item that has been escalated for the Rozelle Interchange to date. There are just a handful for the M4-M5 Link. The majority are cases that arise out of the M4 East property matters. I believe just over half of those matters have been through the IPIAP process and been determined. But I can take on notice the other parts of your question.

 

To read the full exchange, see Hansard here.

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