Luddenham residents urged to have their say on Western Sydney Aerotropolis Draft Precinct Plans

Luddenham residents Rob and Deb Heffernan want local residents to remember the date March 12.

That is the final day for submissions for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Draft Precinct Plans - the state government's plan for the areas around the Western Sydney Airport.

Under the draft plans, residents along Luddenham Road have had part of their properties earmarked as riparian parkland in the new Northern Gateway Precinct.

For the Heffernans, that will mean 40 per cent of their 10ha property will become "useless land" because compensation is not required under those zoning laws.

"We are getting ripped off," Deb said. "They are taking green space off people and not paying them.

"If you look at one of the aerial maps within the Draft Precinct Plan, you'll discover the enormity of green space they want to grab for nothing. They want to rob families of their future."

More than 400 people attended a recent meeting at the Luddenham Showground organised by the Heffernans for people to express their concerns. A second meeting is being planned for March 10.

As well as the 'green space debacle', residents were also concerned with the rise in rates as a result of being rezoned from rural to enterprise.

"Residents were able to voice their concerns and support others who are in the same situation as themselves. This meeting may not have had the answers we were looking for, but for a lot of people who were worried and anxious, came and were extremely appreciative to have this chance as a community to talk things out with each other," Deb said.

"A few even mentioned they felt alone and isolated but not so, after this meeting. Just to be able to encourage them to submit their submissions was great with people on the day offering to help others who had no idea as to how to write a submission letter nor computer skills to send.

"We need to band together and be heard. This grab for free land could happen anywhere in NSW. It must stop."

The Heffernans want answers as to why the state government can't buy their land for parks, which you get compensation for, instead of zero payment for "green space".

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said the draft precinct planning package for the initial precincts within the Western Sydney Aerotropolis is still on exhibition.

"Nothing has been finalised and our goal from day one has been to make sure the process is fair and transparent," the spokesperson said.

"Land identified for riparian parkland in Luddenham is no different to similar land elsewhere in NSW - flood affected land does have planning constraints and is zoned accordingly.

"Regardless, some parts of properties identified riparian parkland and zoned as environment and recreation, may also partially be zoned for enterprise, agribusiness or mixed use, which could mean a major windfall for these landowners.

"We have been inviting landowners and residents to speak one-to-one with our Aerotropolis planning team so we can provide information relevant to each landowners' individual circumstance and better understand and discuss any comments or concerns they may have."

Werriwa MP Anne Stanley spoke on the issue in Federal Parliament recently and announced a petition calling on the state government to provide certainty to landowners when it comes to land acquisition.

"The petition is simple: fairness, transparency and a timeline," Ms Stanley said.

"When will the land be purchased, how much will they get, and from whom?

"All the landowners and residents want is transparency and a fair go."

Councillor Nathan Hagarty attended last month's meeting in support of concerned and frustrated residents and landowners.

"With no concrete timeline or a plan to acquire their properties, landowners could be waiting over a decade. They are just looking for fair and reasonable treatment from the state government," Cr Hagarty said.

"Landowners don't want to jump the queue, they just want to be in the queue."

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment saidat this stage, the only land identified for acquisition is in Thompsons Creek.

"Residents in this area have been formally notified and are able to approach the NSW Government now to acquire this land," the spokesperson said.

"All land designated for acquisition by the NSW Government will be done so in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991. Each property will have an individual site-specific valuation.

"This Act sets out the protections for landowners when their land is acquired by the NSW Government, including the principles to value land and the mechanisms for appeal. Landowners are also encouraged to seek their own valuations as part of this process."

This story 'We are getting ripped off' first appeared on Liverpool City Champion.