compulsory acquisition of land

Changes to the Land Acquisition Act 1969 further curtail rights of land owners/occupiers

Recent changes to the Land Acquisition Act 1969 will, in some circumstances, seriously impact the rights of land owners and occupiers who are affected by an acquisition.

The effect of the amendments is that, in some circumstances, the acquiring authority can determine the date it takes possession of the acquired land, without the need for any consultation or agreement with the affected owner/occupier. The amendments do not affect all acquisitions, only acquisitions specifically declared to be “Declared Acquisition Projects” by the Minister.

Historically, an acquiring Authority (such as the Commissioner of Highways/Department for Infrastructure and Transport) issued a Notice of Acquisition and would need to specify in writing the date on which the authority would take possession of the land. The possession date could not be less than 3 months after the day on which the land was acquired. This three month period between the acquisition and possession dates provided some peace If a dispossessed owner requested a later possession date and the authority refused then the dispossessed owner could refer the matter into the Supreme Court.

A declared acquisition project enlivens the relevant Authority’s power to enter into possession of the land on any date specified by the Authority after a notice of acquisition is published in relation to the land.  The amendments remove the dispossessed owner rights to refer the matter into Court to fix a later possession date if their land relates to a declared acquisition project.

This update is particularly important for owners who may be affected by the following declared acquisition projects:

  • Long Valley Road Overtaking Lane Project;
  • Riddoch Highway Overtaking Lane Project;
  • Victor Harbor Road Overtaking Lane Project; and
  • Horrocks Highway Overtaking Lane Project.

If you are impacted by these projects or have any questions about this article, please contact Pip Metljak or Richard Olson at 8212 9777.

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