Compulsory land acquisition reform announced by NSW Government

The NSW Government last week announced reform of the compulsory acquisition of homes for the building of infrastructure in New South Wales.

NSW Premier Mike Baird and Property Minister Dominic Perrottet announced changes to the "process and model" of land acquisition.

The reform is in Reponses to the Russell Review that put forward 20 recommendations and was delivered in February 2014.

The reforms include:

  • compensation for the disruption and upset for home owners being forced to relocate will be increased by $50,000 dollars to $75,000.
  • a fixed negotiation period of six months.
  • Home owners who stay in their house after it has been acquired will no longer have to pay rent for the first three months.
  • The Valuer General will now have to provide justifications for the value of the offer and homeowner will have 90 days to respond.
  • Each home owner will be appointed a personal manager.

The increased compensation will be backdated to February 2014, but the rent exemption came into effect from October 18.

There are 16 major government authorities across 5 different departments who are authorised to acquire land for a public purpose (such as a new road or rail line).

80% of acquisitions are made by agreement between the landowner and the government acquiring authority, without the need for compulsory acquisition. — Only 5% of acquisitions proceed to the Land and Environment Court.

Around 400 homes are acquired per year.