Compulsory Acquisition

In Australia, government entities have the power to compulsorily acquire land owned by private citizens. Compulsory acquisition is sometimes undertaken when new government buildings are being constructed, to make way for new roads or highways, or for other public infrastructure projects. As the name suggests, if your property is earmarked for compulsory acquisition, you do not get a choice in the matter. To have your home or business premises taken away from you is understandably very stressful, and getting practical legal advice to guide you through the process can be very helpful.  The good news is that in most cases, the government entity acquiring the property (“Acquiring Authority”) will pay most or in some cases, all of your associated costs of your compulsory acquisition lawyer.

The first step in the compulsory acquisition process is the Notice of Intention to Acquire, which the Acquiring Authority  must give to the owners of the affected properties. That document will explain why the property is being acquired and the approximate date that the property will be acquired. If you receive a Notice of Intention to Acquire, you cannot sell the property or enter into any new leases for the property.

The Acquiring Authority has six months from the date of serving the Notice to actually acquire the property – otherwise the Notice lapses and you can claim any reasonable loss or damage you may have suffered.

If the Acquiring Authority does acquire your land, it will publish a notice in the Government Gazette, with the date of publication being the date of acquisition. Within 14 days of the publication of the notice in the Government Gazette, the Acquiring Authority will send you a certificate of valuation and an offer of compensation, together with an explanation as to any difference between the valuation and the offer.

If you are unhappy with the compensation offer, you can make a counter-offer. Before doing so, you should obtain legal advice from experienced lawyers, who can answer any questions you may have, and who can negotiate with the Acquiring Authority on your behalf.

As your lawyers, we can assist you by:

  • engaging experts to assess your entitlement to compensation;
  • determining whether the compensation offered to you is adequate, considering all the surrounding circumstances;
  • negotiating with the Acquiring Authority on issues such as how long you have to find a new place to live, and the terms on which the Acquiring Authority can enter and occupy your land;
  • scrutinising the Acquiring Authority’s activities to make sure it is complying with its obligations under the law; and
  • putting together and lodging your claim for compensation.

If your home or land is compulsorily acquired, we understand it can be a very stressful time for you, and that you need experienced, practical, professional advisors by your side to guide you through the process. We have successfully represented many people in compulsory acquisition matters and made sure they achieved a favourable outcome.

Contact our compulsory acquisition lawyers on 1300 907 335 or complete the enquiry form on this page.

  • CBD Office

    Level 8, 446 Collins Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000

  • Moorabbin Office

    Level 1, 441 South Road
    Moorabbin VIC 3189

  • Chadstone Office

    Level 8, 1341 Dandenong Rd,
    Chadstone VIC 3148


    Ground Flr, 435 Nepean HWY
    Frankston VIC 3199

  • Preston Office

    Ground Flr, 84 Hotham St,
    Preston VIC 3072