Australia: Compulsory land acquisition in Victoria – nine key things you need to know

In brief: Under the provisions set out in the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, land required for a public purpose can be acquired/resumed by government departments and agencies. This can be done either compulsorily or by negotiation.

What you need to know:

  • The compulsory acquisition of land involves a Governmental Authority ("Acquiring Authority"), compulsorily acquiring land and all interests attached to the land.
  • The process under which land is compulsorily acquired is governed by the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act (Vic) 1986 ("Land Acquisition Act").
  • Depending on the circumstances the Government or an authority can acquire your land.
  • Properties acquired are used for future roads/freeways, railways, road widening/deviations, parks, reservoirs, sewerage works, drainage reserves etc.
  • If the land is not acquired within six months of service of the Notice of Intention to Acquire, the notice lapses.
  • While it is possible to make a counter offer to the initial offer received from the Acquiring Authority, there are a number of important legal factors to consider in relation to the independent valuation, understanding your rights and potential compensation claims, which can be complicated and costly.

Key Points:

  1. How will you know your property is being acquired?

You will receive a "Notice of Intention to Acquire" the property from the Acquiring Authority (often being VicRoads, the State Government or a Council). This document will provide information about why your property is being acquired, and the approximate date of when the proposed land is to be acquired.

  1. What can you do with your property once you have been served with a Notice of Intention to Acquire?

Once you receive a Notice of Intention to Acquire you cannot sell or enter into a new lease for the property.

  1. How long after the Notice of Intention to Acquire will my land be acquired?

The Acquiring Authority has six months to acquire the land after serving the Notice of Intention to Acquire. If they do not acquire your property within six months, the Notice of Intention to Acquire lapses.

If the Acquiring Authority does acquire your property, a notice will be published in the Government Gazette. The date of this publication is the date of acquisition.

  1. What happens if the Acquiring Authority does not go ahead with the acquisition?

You can claim any reasonable loss or damage from the Acquiring Authority that you have incurred due to the service of the Notice of Intention to Acquire.

  1. What happens if the Acquiring Authority does go ahead with the acquisition?

You will receive an offer of compensation within 14 days from the notice being published in the Government Gazette. This will include a certificate of valuation and an explanation as to any difference between the offer and the valuation.

  1. Do I have to accept the offer?

No, you can make a counter offer in the form of a Notice of Claim. You should obtain your own valuation and legal advice to support your counter offer.

  1. Will the Acquiring Authority pay for my legal fees?

You are entitled to have your reasonable legal fees for obtaining advice with regards to the acquisition and a valuation paid for by the Acquiring Authority.

  1. What factors should be considered for compensation?

The following factors are considered for compensation:

  • the market value of the property on the date of acquisition
  • any special value to the claimant on the date of acquisition – the advantage (in addition to market value) to a claimant which is incidental to his ownership or occupation of that land, e.g. a blacksmith who has a property adjoining a racetrack may have special value that is not relevant to most purchasers of the land
  • any loss attributable to severance – means the amount of any reduction in the market value of any other interest in the land (or in other land) which is caused by its severance from the land, e.g. if a portion of the property is taken, market value compensation may not effectively compensation for the depreciation of the portion of the land not taken
  • any loss attributable to disturbance – pecuniary loss suffered as a result of the natural, direct and reasonable consequence, e.g. relocation costs
  • any legal, valuation and other professional expenses necessarily incurred by the claimant by reason of the acquisition of the interest
  • Solatium – intangible amounts (not exceeding 10% of market value) which include the following:
  • the length of time you have occupied the land;
  • the inconvenience being removed from the land;
  • the period of time you were likely to have continued to occupy the land if it weren't for the acquisition; and
  • your age and circumstances and that of those who live with you.
  1. What if the Acquiring Authority and I cannot agree on compensation?

The matter becomes a disputed claim and the matter will be heard by VCAT or the Supreme Court.


Compensation awards for compulsory acquisitions are complicated and could be costly. You should consult a lawyer to understand your rights and potential claims for compensation relating to compulsory land acquisition.

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. Madgwicks is a member of Meritas, one of the world's largest law firm alliances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.