Senior compulsory acquisition lawyer Vincent Butcher is urging Sydney's inner west residents, whose properties have been earmarked for acquisition for the Westconnex project, to take steps to understand their rights following the release of the Environmental Impact Statement for the first stage of the project yesterday.

Mr Butcher said the release of the EIS indicated that the project was progressing and that the government was now one significant step closer to commencing the compulsory acquisition process for stage one.

“It is important that all affected business or home owners are aware that they’re entitled to receive fair compensation with respect to any compulsory acquisition and that now is the time to start familiarising themselves with their rights,” Mr Butcher said.

“There are a number of factors that the acquiring authority will take into account when they provide a valuation figure for the property.

“The authority must assess the value of a property according to the market value as well as other costs that may reasonably be incurred as a consequence of the acquisition.

“If a resident does not believe that an offer in compensation provided by the acquiring authority is fair, they are entitled to challenge it and make a counter offer supported by their own independent advice.

“We have worked with a number of inner west residents who, on our advice, sought their own independent valuations and were able to negotiate substantially increased compensation amounts with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

“It is really important that landholders seek independent advice so they can put forward a strong case to receive the full compensation in which they’re entitled.”

For any resident or business owner seeking advice about the compulsory acquisition process, phone Slater & Gordon on 1800 555 777.