A Comprehensive Guide to the Provisions of Compensation for Land Acquisition in Australia

Australia is a big country with six states and two territories. They are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria. (North and Australian capital. The total area of Australia is 768 million hectares with a population of 2.41 crores people.

Just like any other country, Australian government acquires land from its inhabitants for the construction of roads, cities, gas pipelines, railway tracks, etc. In exchange for the acquired land, it provides the compensation amount to the people. Today, in this article, we will talk about the provisions of compensation for land acquisition in Australia and try to understand how individuals can get a reasonable sum of the compensation amount.

The Land Administration Act 1997

As per the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA), Australian government can acquire land for public works. The Minister for Land, the Department of Regional Development and Lands, the State and local governments, agencies with own special statutory powers and property acquisition staff monitor the process of land acquisition in Australia.

In most of the cases, the land purchasing Agency makes it mandatory for the landowner to go through the registration process and agree to a fixed price after the evaluation of the land. On the other hand, the government also uses compulsory acquisition if serious attempts at negotiation have failed, Land is urgently needed for public works and the landowner is agreed to section 168 (1) (b) of the PTA.

In order to complete a mandatory land acquisition process, the concerned agency needs Proof of negotiation, Indemnity to the Minister for Lands against any claims or costs, evidence of an owner’s consent to acquisition and a statement from the local government (section 56 of the LAA) that the land is needed for the construction of roads.

To acquire the land, A Notice of Intention to Take (NOITT) should be lodged with land gate and registered against the relevant title and must be published in newspapers. The Documents must also be served to owner, occupier, or any related parties. The notice contains the full Info about the relevant land, the interest in land, public work details, reasons why the land is suitable for acquisition, etc.

The landlord can object the acquisition of land within 60 days of registration of the NOITT. So, the landowner can ask for the return of the acquired land if the land was acquired one year ago but has not been used for the intended work or it can be sold jointly by its former owner if unused.

The power of state or local governments in land acquisition

The LAA allows the state or local governments to conduct surveys and perform feasibility surveys or to commence work for the urgent acquisition of lands. For such works, notice must be given in advance as shown in the chart:

Entry for the feasibility study 30 days (s182)
Railways, under a Special Act  7 days (s183)
Entry for the survey, inspection 48 hours (s184)
Entry for temporary occupation 7 days (s185)
Entry for the urgent beginning of the work 7 days (s186)

 

Land Acquisition Compensation

All those government agencies that acquire land from individuals are responsible for providing the compensation amount to the needy people. The state department involves in land acquisition and acts from the side of client agencies. The client agencies talk about the compensation amount for the acquired land as per the provisions of LAA.

In general cases, government agencies evaluate the base price and current market price of the land and offer the compensation amount to the people accordingly. In case of dispute, related parties can negotiate with the help of a local property lawyer and strike a mutually beneficial deal. The lawyer can help you in the survey and plan preparation, negotiation with government agencies, legal complexities and fulfill the procedural requirements of the NTA.

 

Final Words

Land acquisition in Australia is a common happening. The federal and state governments acquire land for public works. By following the above-mentioned tips, you can have a fair compensation from the government in exchange for the acquired land.

Michael Birch  is a senior Corporate & Civil lawyer at Law office of Sydney, Australia and focuses his practices in the areas of Building Construction Law, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Domestic and Commercial Conveyancing, Probate, Mediations, Conciliations and Arbitrations. Mr Michael has extensive knowledge in real estate development, real estate finance, real estate lending, asset management, asset purchase and sales, commercial leasing, mixed-use development and planned communities, including condominium ownership.