Private infrastructure facilities
Under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act), the Coordinator-General, on behalf of the proponent, can compulsorily acquire land or easements for a ‘private infrastructure facility’ (PIF).
A proponent of an infrastructure facility may apply to the Coordinator-General for approval as a PIF, if agreement with the owners of the land and/or native title holders cannot be reached.
The types of infrastructure facilities that may qualify for consideration as a PIF include (but are not limited to):
- road, railway, bridge or other transport facility
- electricity generation, transmission or distribution facilities
- oil or gas storage, transmission or distribution facilities.
If a proposed infrastructure facility is approved as a PIF, the proponent must negotiate with the registered owner of the land and/or native title holder to purchase the land needed for the facility and/or enter into an indigenous land use agreement.
However, if these negotiations are unsuccessful, the Coordinator-General may, as a last resort, compulsorily acquire the land in question on behalf of the proponent.
Landowners and native title holders have the right to object to any proposed compulsory acquisition of their land or native title rights/interests.
The PIF provisions also include an investigator’s authority which may be granted (including before the approval of the PIF) to allow the proponent to investigate the land (for example, corridor route suitability) where access to land for surveys, ground tests etc., are required.
Approval of a project as a PIF is valid for 2 years from the day it is declared.
PIF assessment process
The process for PIF assessments is set out in Part 6 Division 7 of the SDPWO Act.
Before making an application to the Coordinator-General, a proponent seeking approval of a project as a PIF must:
- complete an environmental impact assessment process for the infrastructure facility in accordance with relevant Queensland and/or Commonwealth legislation
- give notice to, and negotiate with, the registered owners of the land affected by the facility and/or native title holders.
Environmental impact assessment
An application can only be made if:
- the project has been declared a coordinated project for which an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required, the Coordinator-General has publicly notified the Coordinator-General’s report for the project, and the Coordinator-General’s report has not lapsed or
- the Coordinator-General is satisfied that an adequate environmental assessment has been carried out for the project in accordance with an environmental assessment process under an Act.
Notice and negotiations
A proponent must give notice to, and negotiate with, all the registered owners of the land required for the PIF and any native title holders.
After giving notice, the proponent must negotiate for at least six months with each registered owner and/or native title holder to reach agreement on the purchase of the land, or the entering into of an indigenous land use agreement for the land, required for the PIF.
Land required for an infrastructure facility may be subject to native title rights and interests.
Native title holders and claimants are entitled to the same procedural rights as they would have if they instead held freehold title to the land. Proponents are advised to contact the Office of the Coordinator-General at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss any existing native title rights and interests potentially affected by the proposed infrastructure facility.
If the proponent is unable to reach agreement with the registered owner (and the native title parties if applicable), the proponent may make an application for the approval of the project as a PIF and for the Coordinator-General to take the land required for the infrastructure facility.
For a PIF application to progress to the assessment process the Coordinator-General must be satisfied that the PIF application is properly made. The application must:
- identify the land that the proponent is applying to the Coordinator-General to acquire for the proposed infrastructure facility (the subject land). The subject land must be consistent with the land assessed in the EIS or other environmental assessment process carried out for the project
- be in writing and meet all the relevant requirements in section 153AA(2) of the SDPWO Act, including proof of the steps taken by the proponent during the negotiation stage to purchase the land and/or bring about the surrender of native title
- include payment of the relevant fee.
Proponents must pay the PIF application fee prescribed in the State Development and Public Works Organisation Regulation 2020.
Fee schedule 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022
The fee for a PIF application under section 153AA of the SDPWO Act is $137,122.
- goods and services tax (GST) does not apply to this fee
- the making of an application and payment of the relevant fee does not guarantee that the application will be approved.
This fee is adjusted on 1 January each year to reflect movements in the consumer price index (CPI) over the 12 months to 30 September of the previous year. The CPI is based on the all groups index for Brisbane published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The CPI increase for fees payable in 2022 is 3.9%.
The Coordinator-General is also able to recover from the proponent reasonable costs of any services or advice which the Coordinator-General considers necessary to either decide on an application or take other action in relation to the project. GST is applicable.
How to pay
Payment can be made via cheque, care of Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.
Alternatively, via direct bank deposit to the following account:
Account name: Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
Account number: 10007096
Reference: Please include the name of the project and PIF application (e.g. XYZ Project PIF Application)
After a proponent applies for approval as a PIF, the Coordinator-General must seek submissions on the economic or social significance and benefits of the proposed infrastructure facility from the persons affected by the facility.
The Coordinator-General must also consult with the registered owners and/or native title holders of the land about their negotiations with the proponent to acquire the land by agreement.
After consulting with persons affected by the proposed infrastructure facility, including registered owners and/or native title holders, the Coordinator-General:
- assesses the PIF application
- recommends to the Governor in Council whether the assessment criteria in the SDPWO Act have been met.
When assessing a PIF application, the Coordinator-General considers whether the:
- project has economic or social benefits to Australia, Queensland or the region in which the project is to be undertaken
- proponent has the financial and technical capability to complete the project in a timely way
- project satisfies an identified need or demand for the services provided by the project
- project will be completed in a timely way to satisfy the identified need or demand
- land on which the facility is proposed to be located has been sufficiently identified
- project is not inconsistent with State policies
- proponent has negotiated for at least six months with each registered owner of the land and has taken reasonable steps to purchase the land by agreement
- proponent has taken reasonable steps to enter into an indigenous land use agreement (where native title exists).
In deciding whether the project has economic or social significance and benefits, the Coordinator-General takes into account the project’s potential to contribute to community wellbeing, economic growth or employment.
The contribution the project may make to agricultural, industrial, resource or technological development in Australia, the State or a region is also considered.
Governor in Council approval
The Governor in Council may decide to approve the project, not approve it, or approve it subject to conditions.
If the Governor in Council decides to approve the project as a PIF, the Coordinator-General must prepare a statement giving reasons why the project was approved and publish a copy of the statement in the Queensland Government Gazette.
The Minister must table the statement in the legislative assembly within three sitting days of the gazettal notice being published.
If the Governor in Council decides not to approve a project as a PIF, the Coordinator-General must, within 28 days of the decision, give the proponent written notice of the decision and the reasons for it.
After a proposed infrastructure facility is approved as a PIF, the proponent must make the registered owner of the land a final, unconditional offer to purchase the land required for the PIF.
Where native title exists, the proponent must make the native title holder a final, unconditional offer of compensation for the surrender of native title rights and interests.
The final unconditional offer must be in accordance with section 153AE(2) of the SDPWO Act.
The final unconditional offer must:
- be in writing
- state the amount the proponent is offering to pay to purchase the land or – where native title exists as compensation
- include the final terms of the easement (if applicable)
- provide the landowner and/or native title holder with reasonable time to consider the final offer - not less than 10 business days and
- offer to pay costs reasonably incurred by the landowner and/or native title holder relating to the final offer (e.g. land valuation and legal costs).
If, following a final offer, agreement cannot be reached between the proponent and the registered owner of the land and/or native title holder, the Coordinator-General may decide to compulsorily acquire the land for the PIF.
The Coordinator-General must not compulsorily acquire land for a PIF unless satisfied the:
- proponent has complied with the requirements of making a final offer
- project will proceed within reasonable time frames
- proponent has taken reasonable steps to enter into an indigenous land use agreement for the land (if native title exists in relation to the land).
If the Coordinator-General decides to compulsorily acquire the land, it is acquired according to the process set out in the Acquisition of Land Act 1967.
Should statutory restrictions affect the ability of the proponent to complete the project in a timely way, the proponent and the registered owner may agree in writing that, despite reaching agreement on the purchase of the land, the Coordinator-General should acquire the land.
Relationship to ‘infrastructure facility of significance’
Proponents can no longer apply to have their infrastructure facilities approved as an IFS. Instead, they must seek approval as a PIF.
Projects previously approved as an IFS, or for which an application for approval as an IFS was made prior to the commencement of the amendments, remain subject to the former IFS provisions.
A Private infrastructure facility practical guide (PDF, 221 KB) has been developed to give assistance for proponent's preparing PIF applications.
Last updated: 04 Jan 2022