Land acquisition is the means by which government bodies can
acquire privately owned land. This land can be used for purposes
such as road widening or the creation of new roads.
How do government bodies buy private land?
Through agreement between the land owner and the acquirer. This
process involves the buyer approaching the land owner and arranging
a registered valuer to act as an independent party in the process;
Compulsory acquisition, a process that usually occurs if the
agreement process was unsuccessful.
What are the reforms that I need to know about?
The reforms to the Land Acquisition (Just Terms
Compensation) Act 1991 'Just Terms Act' came into
force on 1 March, 2017.
The term 'solatium' has been replaced by the term
'disadvantage resulting from relocation'. The maximum
amount of compensation payable for 'disadvantage resulting from
relocation' has increased to $75,000. The previous maximum
amount under was $27,235.
A mandatory six-month negotiation period must be performed
before compulsory acquisition.
If the government buyer doesn't use the land for the
original purpose, they will be required to sell back the land to
the former owner as long as no more than 10 years has passed.
A review process for the refusal of hardship applications will
be available to landowners.
Former owners of land which was bought under compulsory
acquisition won't be required to pay rent for the three-month
period after acquisition if they choose to remain in the premises.
However, the land must be their primary place of residence or
Compensation claims may be lodged directly to the
A list of relevant issues in regards to compensation must be
provided to the Valuer-General by the government buyer within seven
days of compulsory acquisition.
The timeframe for a government buyer to provide a compensation
notice to the former land owner has increased from 30 days to 40
Compensation for compulsory acquisition will be the equivalent
market value in some circumstances.
The reforms will have a range of ramifications for both
landowners and government bodies. The changes mean increased rights
for landowners during the acquisition process through increased
transparency between former landowners and the Valuer-General.
There is also a significant increase in compensation for hardships
due to relocating, along with a greater emphasis on negotiating
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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