Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop told Western Australian Farmers' Federation representatives today that SECWA was moving to simplify procedures for major powerline compensation.
At a meeting sought by the WAFF, Dr Gallop confirmed that a draft compensation document prepared by the Federation was not an acceptable alternative to SECWA's tried and tested standard easement document.
"The principles for easement compensation by all Government agencies are outlined under State law by the Public Works Act and the SECWA Act," Dr Gallop said.
"SECWA's easement document reflects these principles which basically involve an assessment of the market value of the land and additional recompense for any damage incurred in construction or later maintenance activities on a continuing basis.
"Changes to procedures proposed by the WAFF would have whole of Government implications and negate the concept of multiple land use.
"Farmers must realise that industrial development and creation of jobs are crucial to the State's future and compensation claims impact on this."
Dr Gallop urged landowners to negotiate with SECWA in a positive manner so that monies due to them could be paid expeditiously.
At the same time he acknowledged that requests from South West landowners for independent valuations and subsidised legal advice about SECWA's easement document were reasonable.
Accordingly, SECWA had agreed to make available in future an independent valuation and subsidised legal advice for private landowners affected by easements for power supply projects.
The independent valuation and legal assistance would have immediate application for the planned Picton-Beenup, Muja-Kwinana and Kondinin-Bounty powerline projects.
"When a major powerline is built on private property the landowner retains title to the affected land, but SECWA purchases an easement," Dr Gallop said.
"Until now, a valuation provided by the Valuer-General's Office has been the only basis for SECWA's calculation of payment to the landowner for the easement.
"Under the new arrangement, valuations submitted by the Valuer-General as well as an independent private valuer will provide a broader basis for discussions on compensation."
Dr Gallop said landowners would select the licensed private valuer to make the independent valuation from a list provided by the Australian Institute of Valuers and Land Economists.
To assist landowners affected by major powerline developments, SECWA would contribute up to $250 towards the cost of professional legal advice on the nature and effect of its standard easement document.