North South madness: Sub-standard properties offered up as business replacement

Thursday 30 May, 2024

The owner of a landscaping business that will be acquired today for the $15.4 billion North-South Corridor project is venting his anger over being denied – multiple times – a meeting with DIT officials and being offered desolate buildings as a possible replacement property.

The owner has told the Opposition DIT officials will not meet with him over the disputed value of his business at Richmond, which only landed on the bulldozer radar once Tom Koutsantonis changed the design of the project, triggering Labor’s $5 billion cost blowout.

In a unique circumstance, an accounting business also operates from the Richmond location.

But in a major move that shows Labor is out of touch, the Opposition has been told the Malinauskas Labor Government is demanding rent from both businesses to remain at the property although just one will be acknowledged for compensation.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, said Labor’s process for taking people’s businesses, homes and livelihoods is out of control.

“Another day and another example of South Australians being treated like trash when it comes to Labor taking their businesses or homes for the North South Corridor project,” Mr Tarzia said.

“Labor’s process is out of control, and it’s gotten so bad that we’re being told the Malinauskas Labor Government won’t even meet with people to discuss the difficult acquisition process.

“We know Labor is using tough tactics and unrealistic compensation offers leaving people hamstrung in a tough and anxious time in their lives.

“There are multiple business owners at Richmond who are struggling to secure a fair payout price, or alternate location that is ‘like-for-like’ as promised by the Malinauskas Labor Government.

“Another issue that has been uncovered is the rising costs of property in South Australia and we have seen examples of Labor relying on valuations that are up to six months old. The market is changing so quickly and those impacted are being shortchanged big time.

“Tom Koutsantonis needs to show some heart and Labor must get its act together. People need support through this process, not to be stonewalled.

“The Liberal Party will establish an Acquisitions Taskforce for future acquisition projects in South Australia if elected in 2026.

“It makes sense to utilise home or small business owners who have experienced property acquisition to support others going through the difficult process.

“We believe this type of support is a great way to achieve fair and reasonable outcomes for all parties.”