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:
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.
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