If you own property or have an interest in property that may be affected by compulsory acquisition by the government, DAVID BAIRD* from Marsdens Law Group offers some advice:
Marsdens Law Group has recently represented property owners who have received notice that their property will be acquired for the purpose of major infrastructure including the upgrade to the Northern Road and the construction of the Westconnex M4-M5 Link.
The Northern Road upgrade will affect around 35km of The Northern Road between the Old Northern Road, Narellan and Jamison Road, South Penrith, while the Westconnex M4-M5 Link project will impact property owners in the Inner West in the construction of the new interchange at Rozelle and tunnel connecting the motorway to the Iron Cove Bridge.
Land acquisition procedure is generally governed by the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 and can seem quite complicated and frustrating for property owners or people with an interest in land that is to be acquired.
On 14 November 2016 the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Amendment Act 2016 (the “Amendment Act”) was assented to by the NSW State Parliament. The Amendment Act adopts a number of reforms in relation to the land acquisition process.
A key change under the Amendment Act is that an acquiring authority must make a genuine attempt to acquire land from a property owner by agreement in a fixed six-month negotiation period before compulsory acquisition can occur. The aim of this change is to provide a property owner with time to understand their rights and obligations in the unfamiliar acquisition process.
If your interest in land is to be compulsory acquired this process generally follows the below course:
1. You will receive a notice from an acquiring authority that your land is to be acquired (“a proposed acquisition notice”).
2. After receiving a proposed acquisition notice, you can make a claim for compensation by filling out and lodging an approved claim for compensation form with the acquiring authority or the Valuer-General;
3. The acquiring authority will publish an acquisition notice in the Government Gazette (normally between 90 – 120 days after the proposed acquisition notice was sent). At this point the authority becomes the owner of the land from the date of the notice.
4. The Valuer-General will independently determine the amount of compensation that the acquiring authority must offer you for your land or interest;
5. You will receive an offer from the acquiring authority;
6. If you accept the compensation offer, the authority will pay the amount within 28 days of receiving your acceptance;
7. If you do not want to accept the compensation offer you may lodge an appeal with the NSW Land and Environment Court within 90 days of receiving the compensation notice from the acquiring authority.
Marsdens Law Group have in the past also represented land owners affected by:
• the realignment of Elizabeth Drive, Luddenham;
• the Bringelly Road upgrade between Camden Valley Way, Leppington and The Northern Road Bringelly;
• the Westconnex interchange at Rozelle impacting Victoria Road; and
• the road widening and interchange in St Peters impacting the Princes Highway.
If you are an owner of property or have an interest in land and have received a letter from an acquiring authority, or if you are concerned your land may be acquired in the future, please do not hesitate to contact David Baird on 4626 5077 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*David Baird is a partner in Marsdens Law Group and specialises in Local Government and Planning Law.