15-09 – Changes to the land acquisition process for acquiring authorities in NSW

What’s new or changing

  • The process for acquiring privately owned land by compulsory process has been changed to improve fairness and transparency.
  • The new requirements apply to all acquiring authorities in NSW, including local councils. Compliance with the requirements is mandatory.
  • NSW Office of Finance and Services (OFS) has issued a Circular (No 2015-01 of 1 January 2015) setting out the new requirements.
  • Before making an application for approval to compulsorily acquire private land, councils must provide the land owner with information about the compulsory acquisition process.
  • OFS has prepared a Land Acquisition Information Guide, which councils can use for that purpose.
  • In addition, councils must make additional efforts to negotiate with the land owner, including making every reasonable effort to have at least one face to face meeting with the land owner and/or their representative.

What this will mean for your council

  • Councils seeking to acquire privately owned land by compulsorily process, either under the Local Government Act 1993 or the Roads Act 1993, must comply with the new requirements.
  • Councils will need to provide evidence of having complied with these requirements with their application form.

Key Points

  • Compliance with the new requirements is mandatory. The changes apply from 1 February 2015.
  • They should be applied to all proposals to acquire private land currently under consideration by councils, to all future proposals for the acquisition of private land and to any application currently being assessed by the Office of Local Government, where it is deemed appropriate for additional negotiation to occur.

Where to go for further information

Steve Orr
Acting Chief Executive