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Compulsory Acquisition



With an unprecedented number of major infrastructure projects being rolled out across Queensland, many landowners are in the unfortunate position of having part or all of their property 'taken' by an authority to make way for the infrastructure. 

This process is known as Compulsory Acquisition – where a constructing authority (such as a local Council, State Government or public utilities provider) seeks to resume all or part of an owner’s land under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967.  

Legal Fees - The Authority Must Pay

Right up front it is critical to note that landowners in compulsory acquisition matters can access specialist legal advice and have their legal fees covered by the constructing authority.

To enable landowners to be properly advised of their rights, the compulsory acquisition legislation and process allows landowners to claim their legal costs as additional compensation over and above the value of the land taken. See our article here for more details.

There are some limited exceptions to this, such as where a landowner wishes to make a formal objection and oppose the acquisition, rather than trying to negotiate a resolution by way of sufficient compensation. In these cases, the costs of objecting and opposing are borne by the landowner, but other costs associated with the acquisition (if it ultimately proceeds) are covered by the constructing authority.

Compulsory Acquisition 

Land can be 'compulsorily acquired' by a constructing authority: 

  1. with a landowner's agreement; or 

  2. without a landowner's agreement. 

In each case it is critical for a landowner to seek legal advice immediately. 

If land is to be acquired with a landowner's agreement, it is critical that the landowner/s understands their legal rights so as to be able to negotiate a fair and equitable outcome and to ensure that the compensation they receive is adequate to reflect the loss of part or all of their property. 

It is common that tough and technical negotiation is required to achieve this, and the outcome for the landowner may differ greatly depending on their representatives persuasiveness and skill during the negotiations.  

If land is to be acquired without a landowner's agreement, it is critical that the landowner/s understands their legal rights so as to be able to take the necessary and appropriate steps in the circumstances.  

These steps might include: 

  • making a written objection to the proposed resumption within the strict time frame permitted; 

  • making a claim for compensation to reflect the loss of part or all of the property; 

  • negotiating an alternative resolution with the constructing authority; and/or 

  • contesting disputed compulsory acquisitions through tribunal and/or Court processes. 

Failure to take appropriate steps in the strict time frames required may lead to a loss of a landowner's rights and could have a significantly detrimental effect on their position. 

How we can help 

Our team is experienced in acting for landowners in compulsory acquisition matters and can provide specialist legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances. 

Led by Simon LaBlack, 1 of only 29 accredited specialists in property law in Queensland, our team have the expertise and technical edge to ensure that your rights are protected and to give you absolute peace of mind.  

We can assist you whether your land is being acquired with, or without, your agreement by staunchly defending your rights and advocating for the best outcome possible in your specific circumstances. 

Get the specialist edge and contact our expert team today.


Important Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only and is based on the law as at the date of publication. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to take any action based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.