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Man demands $4m after being taken 'to hell and back'

Tony Halpin wants to be properly compensated for having his land resumed for the Ipswich Motorway upgrade.
Tony Halpin wants to be properly compensated for having his land resumed for the Ipswich Motorway upgrade. Rob Williams

IT'S an argument over millions of dollars that's been raging for almost a decade.

Now an Ipswich businessman is staring down his last opportunity to settle the dispute before his battle with the State Government spills into the court system.

Tony Halpin was one of 80 property owners whose land was resumed by the State Government for the Ipswich Motorway upgrade.

Four years after the new motorway opened, and months before the next upgrade starts, eight property owners are still waiting for compensation.

Mr Halpin wants $4 million for his property.

The State Government has never made a formal offer for the 1.5ha piece of land.

In October Mr Halpin took his plight to the media, for the second time, saying he doubted the State Government would ever pay him.

Since then, he has agreed to a mediation session, with a mediator of his choosing.

The terms of that mediation session were put forward by Main Roads in February, but a meeting date is yet to be set.

Mr Halpin's lawyer Reece Allen is still carefully reviewing the terms with the knowledge that, if this mediation fails, Mr Halpin will have few choices left.

"If the matter doesn't settle at mediation, it will have to be determined in land court," Mr Allen said.

"This is the last chance to settle."

For Mr Halpin, the long delay comes down to a disagreement over a fair price for the block of land he lost, which he claims was about to be sold for an asking price of $4 million.

The State Government needs Mr Halpin to put forward a price based on an independent, accredited valuation to move forward, which he hasn't done.

"I just want this to be over," Mr Halpin said.

"I feel like they are just hoping I will die and they won't have to pay anything."

Since Main Roads first knocked on Mr Halpin's door in 2008, he says he has been "to hell and back".

His business collapsed, he lost his house and has racked up more than $400,000 in unpaid legal fees related to the resumption of his land.

In October Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said land resumptions were a necessary part of building new infrastructure.

"In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to resume properties for infrastructure projects," Minister Bailey said last year.

"It's the hardest part of a necessary process and we approach it with the utmost compassion.

"There's a legal process in place when it comes to land resumptions to make sure property owners are treated fairly."

Stage one of the next upgrade for the Ipswich Motorway is a three-kilometre stretch between Granard Rd and Oxley Rd.

Since November, Mains Roads has been relocating services including gas, water and electrical services, a process which is expected to be finished by April.

Topics:  ipswich motorway main roads qldpol state government tony halpin


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