Compulsory land acquisition process
The Coordinator-General can compulsorily acquire, or resume, land for infrastructure development.
The main steps of the compulsory land acquisition process are shown below.
Notice of Intention to Resume
The compulsory land acquisition process begins with the issuing of a written Notice of Intention to Resume (NIR).
The NIR is served on all parties with an interest in the land - the landowner, easement holder, leaseholder, and/or the mortgagee.
Among other things, the NIR sets out:
- the land or easement required (lot on a plan of survey, or a map that sufficiently describes the land - an 'about plan')
- purpose for which the land is required
- rights and obligations to be imposed by the easement (if applicable)
- right to object.
Acquisition by agreement
At any time until the resumption notice is published, the Coordinator-General remains willing to negotiate with the interested parties to compulsorily acquire their land by agreement.
These agreements are made under section 15 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1967.
Objections to land acquisition
Landowners and other parties on whom the NIR is served have at least 30 days to object to the proposed compulsory land acquisition, if they wish.
Objections must be in writing and be received at the nominated address by the due date stated in the NIR.
Objectors must state the reasons for their objection and the facts and circumstances supporting those reasons. (Anything relating to the amount of compensation is not a ground for objection.)
Objectors should also state whether a hearing in support of their written objection is required.
If a hearing is required, a delegate of the Coordinator-General will organise the hearing, providing objectors with an opportunity to elaborate on their written objection.
These hearings are not intended to be adversarial and do not require legal representation, however objectors can engage a professional to assist them at the hearing.
The delegate prepares a report that covers the written and - if applicable - verbal objections.
A preliminary report is provided to the objector for comment, before it is submitted to the Coordinator-General for consideration.
All comments are taken into account before the delegate submits a final report to the Coordinator-General.
Decision on objection
The Coordinator-General (or a delegate) considers the objection report and decides whether to:
- proceed with the acquisition in its current form
- amend the NIR (e.g. seek to acquire a lesser or different area)
- not proceed with the acquisition at all.
If the objector engages a professional to assist with the written objection or the hearing, those costs are the objector's responsibility.
Application to acquire land
If, after considering any objections, the Coordinator-General decides to proceed with a compulsory land acquisition, the Coordinator-General must apply to the Minister to resume the land.
If the Minister agrees, a recommendation is then made to the Governor in Council that the land be resumed.
The Coordinator-General's application to the Minister must be made within 12 months of the date of the NIR (or within 12 months of the date of a section 15 agreement).
If the Governor in Council approves the compulsory land acquisition, a resumption notice is published in the Queensland Government Gazette (a copy of the notice is sent to all interested parties).
On the date the notice is published, the Coordinator-General becomes the owner of the land (or easement).
Anyone else's interest in the land converts to a right to claim compensation.
All other interests (e.g. leases, easements, and mortgages) are discharged.
Vacating the land
At any time following the publication of the resumption notice, the Coordinator-General can take possession of the property acquired.
If the Coordinator-General does not require the land immediately, the date of vacant possession of the property can be negotiated.
If an easement is resumed, the Coordinator-General may begin using the easement from the date of the notice. The Coordinator-General does not need vacant possession of an easement.
Once the land has been resumed, the Coordinator-General has the right to access the land (or easement) to construct any proposed infrastructure.
Construction can proceed before compensation is paid.
Compensation is the amount of money paid to the landowner and other interested parties as a result of the land being resumed (or, in some cases, the works carried out).
Last updated: 21 Oct 2021