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.
In order to commence a compulsory land acquisition, an 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 authority will notify the claimant of its intention to acquire a specified interest in, or part of, the land and then after the requisite time has lapsed will acquire the interest by publishing a Notice of Acquisition which vests the interest in the authority.
Within 14 days of publishing the Notice of Acquisition, the authority must serve a copy of the Notice of Acquisition 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. Professional advice tailored to individual circumstances is essential.
Subject to the amount of the offer of compensation, a claimant can request an advance of compensation from the authority to help cover the costs of the conduct of the claim.
If the compensation claim cannot be settled between the parties, there is provision for referral of the disputed claim to be determined by the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal or the Supreme Court.