You can initiate acquisition in case of hardship
Before an acquiring authority buys private land, an environmental planning instrument may reserve it exclusively for a public purpose. This means that the government intends to acquire the land in the future.
There can be a long wait between reserving the land and acquiring it. For example, the acquiring authority may need to wait for development approvals or funding.
If the delay in acquisition will cause you to suffer hardship, you can ask the responsible authority to acquire your land now. To do this, you need to show that you:
- must sell the land for pressing personal, domestic or social reasons, or to avoid losing income
- have not been able to sell it because of the future acquisition.
If the acquiring authority is satisfied that a delay in acquisition will cause you to suffer hardship, it will acquire your land.
If the acquiring authority decides not to acquire your land, you have 28 days to apply to the Secretary of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to have the decision reviewed. The reviewer will be a qualified person, not associated with either you or the acquiring authority. The Minister for Water, Property and Housing will choose the reviewer.
The reviewer’s decision is final.
Different acquisition rules apply for land under the surface
The Land Acquisition Act and the Transport Administration Act 1988 give the Valuer General a framework to determine compensation for land under the surface. This includes compensation for acquiring:
- land under the surface for tunnels or underground rail facilities
- an easement or right to use the land under the surface for constructing and maintaining works.
If the land under the surface is acquired for a tunnel or underground rail facility, you are not owed compensation unless:
- the surface of the overlying soil is disturbed
- construction destroys or damages the support for that surface
- any mines or underground work on or next to the land become unworkable or damaged.
If an easement or right to use land under the surface is acquired for constructing and maintaining works, you are not owed compensation unless:
- the construction of the works does damage
- the work causes damage.