By Phillip Leaman

5 August 2013

The building of substantial government infrastructure such as roadways usually involves the compulsory acquisition of a significant number of homes and properties. The procedure for compulsory acquisitions in Victoria is set out in the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic).

A brief summary of the process of obtaining compensation when your property has been compulsorily acquired under the under Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic) is as follows:

First Step – NOTICE OF ACQUISITION

The Authority must provide a notice of intention to acquire the interest or commences negotiations to acquire an interest in the land. The Authority will provide an Initial Offer of Compensation which is to be a “fair and reasonable estimate of the amount of compensation” payable to the claimant and must include a certificate of valuation and a statement explaining the difference between its offer and the valuation.

Second Step – CONTESTING COMPENSATION

Within 3 months of the service of the offer the claimant can accept the compensation offered or provide a counterclaim setting out what compensation it believes is “fair and reasonable”. This must be carefully worded and supported by valuations. We can provide further advice on what can and cannot be obtained as compensation and guide you through the whole process to achieve the best outcome possible.

Third Step – AUTHORITY’S REPLY TO CLAIM

The Authority has 3 months to provide a written reply to the counter claim. If no reply is provided, the Authority is deemed to reject the offer and restate its previous offer. If the Authority varies its offer, the claimant must accept or reject the offer within 2 months.

Fourth Step – DISPUTE

In the event that the Authority and the claimant are unable to agree on an amount, either party may issue proceedings in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or the Supreme Court of Victoria. The issues of compensation payable is then litigated and the Tribunal or Court make orders determining the amount of compensation payable.

It is sometimes possible to obtain a resolution to matters prior to the relevant Authority serving a notice of acquisition and undertaking the procedure set out in the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic). However, this is determined by the attitude of the relevant Authority and the project timeline.

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