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Compulsory acquisitions

In NSW all levels of government can acquire privately owned land for public purposes. They may acquire the whole property, part of a property or an interest in the property including easements for power lines, sewer or water.

The acquisition of land is undertaken in accordance with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the Act). The body acquiring the land is commonly called the acquiring authority.

Most privately owned land, required by government for public purposes, is acquired by negotiation and agreement between the land owner and the acquiring authority. More information on this is provided on land acquisition page.

When a land owner and acquiring authority are unable to negotiate the purchase of the land, an acquiring authority can compulsorily acquire the land for a public purpose.

The Valuer General is required under the Act to determine the amount of compensation to be paid by the acquiring authority to the former land owner. 

The information on the following pages is general information about compulsory acquisition which may differ in individual cases.  

Owner initiated acquisitions

The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 makes provision for owner initiated acquisitions in cases of hardship. The factors considered when determining compensation differ from the general information on the following pages.

Please contact Valuation Services' Compensation Team on 02 9860 5211 or at for more information about owner initiated acquisitions.

Acquisitions of land under the surface

The treatment for acquisitions of land under the surface differs from the general information provided on the following pages.

The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 and the Transport Administration Act 1988 provide the Valuer General with the framework that must be followed in determining compensation.

In general compensation is not payable unless:

  • the surface of the overlying soil is disturbed, or
  • the support of that surface is destroyed or injuriously affected by the construction of the tunnel, or
  • any mines or underground working in or adjacent to the land are thereby rendered unworkable or are injuriously affected.

Please contact Valuation Services' Compensation Team on 02 9860 5211 or at for more information about acquisitions of land under the surface.

More information

The NSW Government's Property Acquisitions website.

Valuer General’s policy, Compensation following compulsory acquisition (PDF 170.3 KB).

Valuer General’s brochure, Compulsory acquisition, NSW Valuer General’s role (PDF 1.7 MB).

Valuer General’s fact sheet Compulsory acquisition of land (PDF 144.2 KB).

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