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Compulsory Land Acquisition Process

An authority is generally required to give notice that it is interested in privately owned land. An authority will usually enter the land for investigation purposes, temporarily occupy the land or acquire an interest in the land for more permanent needs such as building roads, pipelines or other public infrastructure.

Procedure

In order to commence a compulsory land acquisition, the authority must already have reserved the land under a planning scheme for a public purpose unless an exemption has been obtained. The owner should have been notified and given an opportunity to object to the reservation. Advice from a lawyer or town planning consultant is often required for these purposes.

Once the reservation has been adopted into the planning scheme, the following procedure applies:-

  • The authority notifies the owner of its intention to acquire a specified interest in, or part of, the land by delivering a document entitled "Notice of Intention to Acquire".
  • No earlier than two months, nor later than six months, after delivering the Notice of Intention to Acquire, the authority may acquire the interest by publishing a notice in the Victoria Government Gazette entitled "Notice of Acquisition". This vests the interest in the authority without the need for the owner to sign any transfer documents.

Compensation

  • Within 14 days of publishing the Notice of Acquisition, the authority must serve a copy of the Notice of Acquisition on the owner and make an offer of compensation. The offer is generally based on the effect of the compulsory land acquisition on the market value of the land and may include allowances for other matters such as severance, disturbance, professional expenses necessarily incurred, special value and solatium.  These heads of claim can lead to markedly different outcomes from claim to claim.  Advice tailored to individual circumstances is essential.
  • If the initial offer of compensation made by an acquiring authority exceeds $5,000, the owner may request that the authority advance the amount offered without prejudicing the claim.  The authority must then pay the advance within one month. The owner continues with the compensation claim.
  • If the compensation claim cannot be settled in accordance with the settlement procedures of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, there is provision for referral of the disputed claim to be determined by the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal or the Supreme Court.

If you seek further advice or wish to retain our firm, please see our Enquiry & Instruction page

If you would like more comprehensive advice on compulsory land acquisition, we invite you to visit our specialised website at www.compulsorylandacquisition.com.au/.