In simple terms, Compulsory Acquisition is the compulsory purchase of all or part of your land by a government or statutory authority. It often affects land owners, tenants, businesses and licence holders.

Common examples of Compulsory Acquisition include:

  • A family home acquired to build a new road
  • A tenant’s rental property acquired to widen a road
  • A cattle farmer’s property acquired to build a new freeway
  • Part of a vineyard acquired for a water easement
  • A restaurant business acquired for a revitalised town centre
  • A house and business acquired for a new airport runway

Other examples of compulsory acquisition can include easements on your land which allow some access to your property and the placement of overland / underground for such public utility infrastructure purposes as:

  • Electrical transmission towers / lines
  • Water / sewerage pipes
  • Gas pipelines
  • Access roads
  • Other infrastructure

what is compulsory acquisition

What is an acquiring authority?

An acquiring authority is a body that has been granted power to acquire land for a specific purpose pursuant to the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986.

An acquiring authority could be:

  • VicRoads
  • A rail authority
  • A government department
  • A services company (e.g. water, power, etc.)
  • A municipal council

What rights does an acquiring authority have?

The ‘Acquiring Authority’ is granted planning permission by the government to mark certain properties for future acquisition so they can be used for a public purpose.

The acquiring authority can acquire:

  • All of your land
  • Some of your land
  • The right to use some or all of your land (e.g. an easement)
  • Structures or developments situated on the land (including houses, gardens and sheds) may also be acquired.

Can I stop a compulsory acquisition?

Generally, it is not possible to stop a compulsory acquisition. However, in some instances concerns raised about an acquisition have led to a different outcome. Examples include the Western Highway project and more recently the East West Link proposal. In these cases, appropriate questions were raised and variations were made to the infrastructure projects. Our partners have previously acted for groups that form opposition to proposed infrastructure developments. Some examples include unChain St Kilda (in relation to the St Kilda Triangle development) and Lower Our Tracks Incorporated (in relation to the proposed Sky Rail Project). Before the acquisition process commences, the acquiring authority may approach you with a request to reach an agreement for the sale of the affected land (i.e. to buy the land from you rather than taking it). The process may be referred to as voluntary purchase. This option may be beneficial to you, however it is advisable to ensure that you are aware of all your rights and obligations before making a decision.

public overlay compulsory acquisition

How Hunt & Hunt can help

  • We can help you determine how the proposed project may impact you
  • We are experienced in preparing or assisting clients to raise objections. We can identify some of the unexpected long term impacts of raising these issues to avoid reducing or affecting your (future) claim
  • Whether or not you have been contacted by the acquiring authority, we can provide advice regarding your potential claim and the advantages and drawbacks of a negotiated acquisition
  • If involved at this early stage, we can assist you in making decisions about selling or improving your property
  • We can maintain open lines of communication to inform you of developments and what you can expect in the following acquisition stages
  • We can review any proposed agreement with the acquiring authority as it may affect you in the future
  • We explain and manage the entire process for you, so you can choose your level of involvement