The Land Acquisition Act protects your interests
The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the Land Acquisition Act) sets out the process acquiring authorities must follow when acquiring land. It:
- directs the acquiring authority to negotiate with the landowner for at least six months to acquire land by agreement
- lists what matters are to be considered
- allows compulsory acquisition if agreement is not possible
- ensures fair compensation if an authority acquires land not for public sale
- requires a state authority to acquire land designated for a public purpose when an owner demonstrates hardship
The Land Acquisition Act does not apply to land that is publicly for sale and acquired by agreement.
It does include cases where an acquiring authority could compulsorily acquire land but instead reaches an agreement with the landowner. Except in hardship cases, the negotiating terms are the same for both compulsory acquisition and agreement.
Compensation must be on just terms
The Land Acquisition Act requires that the amount of compensation be enough to justly compensate the landowner. The compensation amount must include:
- the market value of the land on the acquisition date
- any special value to the landowner on the acquisition date
- any loss due to severance
- any loss due to disturbance
- the disadvantage from relocation
- any change to the value of other land that adjoins or is severed from other land you own, if this change is due to the acquisition.
The Land Acquisition Act also:
- requires the acquiring authority to pay you 90% compensation in advance if there is any dispute over the amount
- covers any disadvantage you face from relocating if the acquired land is your main residence
- allows compensation in the form of land or carrying out works, if you and the acquiring authority agree
- includes objection and appeal rights to the Land and Environment Court.
The Valuer General will follow the Land Acquisition Act
The Land Acquisition Act requires the Valuer General to:
- determine how much the acquiring authority must offer the landowner for land it compulsorily acquires.
- ensure that the compensation is no less than the market value of the land, unaffected by the acquisition.