Government land acquisition and resumption
All levels of government sometimes need to acquire privately held land to provide services and community facilities such as parks, schools, hospitals and roads.
The required land can be acquired by negotiation with the landholder or through a compulsory acquisition process, known as ‘land resumption’.
This page explains the land resumption process and landholder rights if land is resumed.
Who can resume land
The Acquisition of Land Act 1967 (the Act) enables ‘constructing authorities’ to acquire land for public purposes. Constructing authorities (also called acquiring or resuming authorities) include government agencies, local governments and some state-owned corporations.
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is the constructing authority for most government departments and acquires land for purposes such as schools and hospitals.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads can acquire land for transport infrastructure purposes to provide a better and safer transport network.
The Coordinator-General facilitates many of the large-scale infrastructure projects that underpin Queensland's economic development. Sometimes the Coordinator-General needs to acquire, or resume, the land on which these projects are to be built.
Energex Limited and Ergon Energy are other examples of constructing authorities. They are authorised to acquire land under the Electricity Act 1994.
Local governments can acquire land for purposes related to local government functions.
The acquisition process
If a compulsory acquisition is proposed for land you hold, you will receive a notice of intention to resume.
If you and the constructing authority agree to the acquisition, the taking of the land is effective from the date the notice for the taking of the land is published in the Queensland Government Gazette.
If you do not agree to the acquisition, you can object.
Making an objection
As a landholder, you have the right to object and have your objection heard by the constructing authority.
Your objection must:
- be in writing
- be made within a specified time
- provide supporting details for the objections
- state whether you wish to appear and be heard by the constructing authority in support of the grounds for objection.
An objection to the proposed acquisition of land may be on various grounds. For example, you may feel the proposal is better located elsewhere or that proper process has not been followed. However, the grounds for objection cannot relate to the amount of compensation.
You may appear in person at the hearing and/or be represented by a solicitor. Any costs incurred for this will be your responsibility.
Your objection will be considered and a decision made about whether or not to continue with the resumption, or whether to amend the notice of intention to resume.
If the constructing authority believes they still require the land, they may apply to the relevant minister for the land to be taken. If the minister is satisfied that the proposed resumption should proceed, they may refer the matter to the Executive Council to have a taking of land notice published in the Queensland Government Gazette.
You can claim compensation if you have an interest in the land, for example, if you are the owner, lessee or licensee of the property.
The compensation claim needs to be in writing and you may engage a registered valuer and/or solicitor to assist.
Reasonable costs relating to preparing and filing the compensation claim are reimbursed as part of the overall settlement of compensation.
A claim must be made within 3 years of the day the notice is published in the gazette.
How compensation is assessed
The compensation amount is based on the market value of the property (or the interest in the property) on the date the gazette notice is published and according to the Act and legal precedents.
A valuer will assess the market value of the land including fixed improvements (furniture and chattels are not included).
For owner-occupied properties, reasonable removal expenses and costs (e.g. legal fees and stamp duty) associated with the purchase of a replacement dwelling of equal value are usually allowed.
The landholder is responsible for any outstanding rates, land tax and rent at the date the land is acquired. Any amount owing may be deducted from the compensation paid.
When compensation will be paid
An offer of compensation will be made after the compensation claim is received. If the landholder is satisfied with the offer, the agreement will be documented and settlement will be arranged.
Compensation payments resulting from the resumption of property do not attract GST.
Rejecting the compensation offer
If agreement cannot be reached about compensation and negotiation fails to resolve differences, either party can refer the matter to the Land Court for an independent decision.
Once you have lodged a written compensation claim, you can apply in writing for an advance payment against compensation.
This does not affect your right to negotiate additional compensation or to have the matter independently determined by the Land Court if agreement fails to be reached.
This is not meant to be a complete guide.
For more information, contact the authority managing the specific acquisition, such as:
- the local government
- Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
- Department of Transport and Main Roads
- Department of State Development.