With various diverse communities and regions, there’s no shortage of flourishing towns in NSW. It is also notable that NSW has Australia’s fastest-growing population, whereby in 2036 it may surpass nine million people. As demands for services and facilities grow, more residents face the possibility of losing their properties through compulsory acquisition.


Putting Money into Infrastructure

When it comes to addressing the demands of a growing population, increased services need to be provided such as more public transport, roads, hospitals, and schools. In order for the NSW Government to provide these additional services, it enlists the services of an acquiring organisation that can help make the correct decision when it comes to where these new services will be built. Government agencies and utility providers are authorised to make property purchases intended for use by the public. The procedures behind these purchases are regulated by The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act of 1991.


Deciding Which Properties Need to be Acquired

For all large government projects, surrounding communities are usually consulted while the organisation in charge of purchases selects properties that will be necessary for the project after a location has been decided.


What Happens if you are Affected by Property Acquisition?

If your property will need to be acquired for a government project, you can expect the organisation behind the purchases/project to get in touch with you to organise a meeting in order to better explain the procedure and all future actions. You can also expect an introductory letter that will detail the acquisition of your property.


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Your Acquisition Support Team 

The organisation behind the acquisition will ensure you have an acquisition support team throughout the procedure. The support team is provided at no cost and may involve a Personal Manager and an Acquisition Manager. Depending on the scope of the project and acquisition, you may also be assigned a Community Place Manager.


Personal Manager

The Personal Manager is the main point of contact for the acquisition procedure. It is their role to ensure you are aware of the entire process, and your needs while relocating, plus protecting your personal information.


Acquisition Manager 

The Acquisition Manager will deal directly with an independent valuer to work out how much compensation you will receive. They will also work with you in determining the amount of compensation that will be provided, as well as organising the required paperwork, explaining the acquisition process plus the procedure in deciding compensation, a letter of offer, and all settlement contracts.


Community Place Manager

While not assigned to all residents that will have their properties acquired due to the scope of the projects they are involved in, Community Place Managers are prominently used on large-scale projects, being the main contact for all concerns regarding construction and the project itself.


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How The Formal Acquisition Process Starts

The formal acquisition process starts after you have received an Opening Letter. The Opening Letter outlines the beginning of the negotiation period, with six months being the shortest available time to decide on the compensation package with the organisation that is acquiring your property. If a shorter period is required, it can be negotiated in specific situations related to the Act.


The Opening Letter

The opening letter states the details of the organisation involved in acquiring a property as well as the Acquisition support team. It also states that an independent valuer will inspect your property to determine its value while recommending you utilise your own independent valuer with a reasonable sum of fees covered by the organisation acquiring your property after settlement. Other information covered in the Opening Letter includes recommending that you seek legal advice regarding the acquisition and that you can expect to receive a formal offer for your property from negotiations and the valuation.


After you have received an Opening Letter, you have a minimum of six months to negotiate with the organisation acquiring your property on compensation


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Your Own Independent Advice

Even though the acquiring agency may arrange an independent valuer, it is imperative that you seek advice from your own lawyer and valuer. Seeking independent legal advice can allow you to better understand the entire process, plus your lawyer can negotiate with the acquiring agency on the compensation you will receive alongside liaising with the acquisition support team.


Foreign Residents Who Own Property

Foreign residents who own Australian property are required to pay a specific tax. This tax can impact foreign residents that may have their property acquired as well. For detailed information and advice, consult your lawyer, visit ato.gov.au, or contact the ATO directly at 13 72 26.