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Compulsory Aquisition

The team at Meyer Vandenberg has extensive experience in dealing with compulsory acquisition by Commonwealth, ACT and NSW government authorities.

Compulsory acquisition is a complex area of law, made more difficult by the fact that the onus is on the displaced owner to put together their claim for compensation.  The claim must set out the amount of compensation sought and needs to be supported by evidence.  Depending on the place of acquisition, and what is acquired, there are various heads of compensation available to a displaced owner and various ways of calculating that compensation.

If your property is compulsorily acquired, you need to act swiftly with expert advice to ensure you take advantage of all options open to you under the relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory compulsory acquisition legislation and get all the compensation you are entitled to.

At Meyer Vandenberg, we understand the nuances of the claim process and are experienced in compiling complex compensation claims.  We will work with you to ensure you receive the highest compensation for what you have lost.

What we do

  • Assist with the pre-acquisition process, including considering the validity of the proposed acquisition
  • Identify and liaise with appropriate experts, including valuers and forensic accountants, to assist prepare a claim for compensation with credible evidence
  • Prepare a claim for compensation and liaise with the relevant government authority to accept the claim
  • Negotiate with representatives and experts of the acquiring authority to resolve as quickly as possible any dispute about the claim for compensation or responding offer
  • Prepare applications for a court or tribunal to review an acquiring authority’s final offer of compensation

The MV difference

  • Expertise in large scale compensation claims for compulsory acquisition of land and any accompanying business.
  • Experience working within the Commonwealth, NSW, and ACT jurisdictions.
  • Access to a range of specialised experts to assist in the preparation of your claim.
  • Connection to Australia’s leading compulsory acquisition barristers.
  • An experienced and dedicated team that understands the emotional as well as financial damage caused by the compulsory acquisition of land.
  • Plain-English advice about your rights arising under compulsory acquisition legislation, with recommendations to maximise your compensation.
  • Frank and fearless advice to you about what compensation you can claim, the strength of your evidence in support, and the likely outcome of your claim.


As a society, we need infrastructure like roads, public transport, airports and so on. When the land needed to develop such infrastructure is privately owned, the relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory government is empowered to take that land, either with the landowner’s consent through a negotiated acquisition or without the landowner’s consent by compulsory acquisition.

As the name suggests, the landowner is compelled to give up their land regardless of whether they want to or not. Put another way, if your land is required by the government for a public project, your land will be acquired.

There is some opportunity at the outset of the compulsory acquisition process to negotiate with the government a price for your land. However, if the negotiations fall over then the government will continue with the compulsory acquisition process to take your land and you will need to apply for compensation after the event.

Within 28 days from receiving initial notice of the government’s intention to acquire your land, you (or another person affected by the acquisition) can make an application for reconsideration of the acquisition.  Such application must be accompanied by submissions as to why the acquisition ought to be reconsidered, revoked or varied. This 28-day window is the only opportunity you have to ask the acquiring authority to reconsider taking your land.  Given this short timeframe, it is important that you get the best advice quickly to make a compelling application for reconsideration of the acquisition.

Yes, upon receiving notice of the government’s intention to acquire your property, you can negotiate with the acquiring authority to reach an agreement on the terms of the acquisition and the amount of compensation payable.

The claim process varies depending on which government authority is acquiring your land.  If your land is acquired under the Commonwealth or ACT legislation, there is no time limit within which you are required to submit your claim.  If your land is in NSW then strict timeframes apply in which you must apply for compensation.