In Queensland the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 ("the Act") empowers a constructing authority the right to resume land for a variety of purposes as set out in the Act. Such purposes are extensively listed but commonly these include resumption of land for:
- new road infrastructure or road widening, or
- new water pipeline infrastructure or drainage.
The Act states the constructing authority must first give a land owner a notice in the prescribed form, being a "Notice of Intention to Resume". Under the Act the land owner has a right to object to the resumption provided the objection is made within time and there are grounds for objection.
Presuming no objection is made the construction authority will serve a further notice, being a "Taking of Land Notice" on the land owner. This notice will set out information confirming that the part (or whole) of the land being resumed and which will convert to the constructing authority.
Under the Act the land owner is entitled to claim compensation in respect of the resumed land. The constructing authority will issue a compensation claim form for this purpose.
Compensation offered by a constructing authority typically includes:
- a monetary sum payable to the land owner,
- payment of any valuation, legal and other professional fees reasonable incurred by the land owner arising from the resumption,
- re-erecting by the constructing authority at their cost of boundary fences on any new boundaries created by the resumption, and
- revegetation or reinstatement of damage caused to the remaining land by the constructing authority.
The amount and make up of the compensation will vary depending on the circumstances applicable to each land owner's lot.
If the land is subject to a mortgage the bank must also consent to any finally agreed compensation amount.
Any dispute between a land owner and a constructing authority as regards compensation can be brought before the Land Court for determination.
Assessment of compensation
When assessing compensation, the general rule of thumb is that it must be an amount which justly compensates a dispossessed land owner. The Act takes this general principle and breaks the compensation down into a number of elements including:
- market value of the land,
- loss of profits,
- economic cost,
- injurious affection, and
- special value.
Some or all of the heads of compensation stated above will apply to a land owner depending on the circumstances surrounding the resumption.
The Act states a land owner must make a claim for compensation within a prescribed time (three years) after the day the land was taken unless it is reasonable to extend this period.
We have a number of valuers whom we deal with. We liaise with the valuer to ensure an inspection of your land is undertaken and a report is properly prepared setting out the estimate of compensation payable and the heads under which compensation is sought. We also assist with negotiations with the constructing authority to ensure the maximum compensation is claimed.
If you are in receipt of communications from a constructing authority identifying your land for a proposed resumption we recommend you contact one of our property lawyers so we can ensure you receive appropriate advice and assistance with respect to any objection, compensation claim or appeal.
Duncan Murdoch - Director