Slater and Gordon has urged property owners who will be affected by the Melbourne Metro Rail Project to take steps to ensure they are not left out of pocket, as a result of the effects of major construction activity.
Principal Lawyer Manisha Blencowe said that the firm had been contacted by more than 50 residents and business owners concerned about how the project will affect them.
“We have already provided advice to a number of people whose properties are set to be compulsorily acquired,” Ms Blencowe said.
“But as with any major infrastructure project, there will be a number of property and business owners who will be adversely impacted during construction.
“It is very important for affected owners to seek expert condition reports for their property, prior to the commencement of construction activity.
“A condition report will provide a clear reference point if any damage appears during or immediately after construction.
“Of course, we would be encouraging the Government to pay for the condition reports requested by affected owners.”
The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority yesterday released documents to the public, including detailed maps, showing the proposed route of the Project.
Ms Blencowe emphasised the importance of people who may be affected to take steps to ensure they are not left to foot the bill.
“Our experience with the East West Link Project was that although major construction never took place, some properties were still affected by test drilling and other preparatory work.
“It is imperative that the Government and the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority have proper processes in place so that claims relating to property damage that may be caused by construction can be dealt with fairly and efficiently.”
Slater and Gordon will be making a submission to the MMRA as part of the Environmental Effects Statement review process.
Ms Blencowe said that a similar submission was made by the firm to the Linking Melbourne Authority regarding the East West Link.
The Submission will include recommendations that the MMRA and the contractor:
Regularly informs residents and property owners about construction progress and activities
- Agrees to pay for any damage to properties incurred during construction
- Agrees to pay for pre and post-construction property condition assessments prepared by an independent expert
- Offers arrangements to protect the interests of residents and property owners affected by construction activity, including offering the purchase of properties suffering substantial adverse effects
- Establish complaints handling procedures that provide a fair and accessible method for residents to resolve issues