A group of rural landholders whose properties are to be resumed for a highway expansion have blasted WA's planning laws as unfair amid claims they are treated differently to city folk.
Dozens of property owners near Bindoon have argued they face financial heartbreak over State Government plans to upgrade a highway linking Perth and Darwin.
Main Roads wants the expansion to accommodate increased mining-related traffic between Perth and the Pilbara and ease congestion in the Swan Valley.
Although the Liberal Party has promised to upgrade a 37km section between Tonkin Highway and Muchea, there has been no money put forward for a proposed bypass of Bindoon.
Amid the uncertainty, Bindoon landowners in the highway's path say they are being left in the lurch because of shortcomings in the State's planning legislation covering compensation.
Unlike city residents, who can claim compensation as soon as plans affect the value of their properties, they say they are bound to wait almost until the Government starts building works.
The proposal has slashed the value of their properties, which in many cases are their retirement nest eggs. They say they will have to sell at a loss or wait indefinitely.
Peter Rogers, who owns a small hobby farm at Bindoon that will be cut in two, said the proposal had halved the value of his land and may have made it unsaleable.
Mr Rogers accepted the Government's right to take land for infrastructure but accused it of failing to provide equitable compensation.
He said people in the city were covered by a State-funded scheme, but country residents had to apply to local government, which was invariably unable to take on the liability. "It's grossly unfair," Mr Rogers said.A Department of Planning spokeswoman said it was considering funding changes so people affected by decisions outside Perth could be "more adequately" compensated.
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