Finance Minister Victor Dominello has vowed to review how a Sydney home owner was offered less than an official valuation by the NSW Valuer-General for his property, forcibly acquired for the $16.8 billion WestConnex motorway.
Two days before a conciliation hearing in the Land and Environment Court on Tuesday over compensation he will receive, former St Peters resident Richard Capuano received a letter on behalf of the acquiring agency, Roads and Maritime Services.
The letter from law firm Clayton Utz revealed RMS was arguing the market value of his former home is $75,000 less than the NSW Valuer-General's assessment.
The Valuer-General assessed the market value of the St Peters terrace at $900,000 but RMS now says the value is $825,000. Mr Capuano's position is the market value is $1.675 million.
In its letter RMS argues this is because "a prudent, hypothetical purchaser would have sought advice from a property inspection expert" which is what RMS says it has done using the firm Tyrrells Property Inspections.
It says had the Valuer-General commissioned such a report he would have assessed a lower market value due to the property being "in a severely deteriorated and neglected condition, requiring major overhaul work".
But Mr Capuano, who has temporarily relocated to the Central Coast, accused RMS of "being unreasonable".
"We're being more than reasonable. I've even had to come down in my valuation. I'm making concessions for them yet they continue to trample all over residents."
The letter follows notification from Clayton Utz in December that RMS was conducting a fresh valuation of the property. It has already been valued four times. Mr Capuano's former home was razed a fortnight ago.
On Sunday, Mr Dominello said in a statement: "Now that I have been made aware of this matter I will review the process in consultation with the Minister for Roads [Melinda Pavey]".
Fairfax Media has previously highlighted the experience of Mr Capuano and others whose homes are being acquired for major projects but who believe they are being offered compensation hundreds of thousands of dollars below market value.
Then premier Mike Baird and then finance minister Dominic Perrottet announced changes to the compulsory acquisition system in October in response to an expert review by David Russell, SC, that the government kept under wraps for 2½ years.
Changes included extra compensation and more time for home owners to negotiate.
But the government rejected a recommendation that home owners be compensated on a "reinstatement basis" to ensure they can afford an "equivalent" home.
"I was appalled that despite assurances from the premier and the finance minister that the process would be fixed it's gone backwards," Mr Capuano said.
The story Minister vows to review WestConnex property valuation first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.