The Queensland Government recently introduced a number of amendments to the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 and the Land Act 1994 in a bid to clarify the rights of persons affected by compulsory acquisition.
The bill overturns the effect of a recent Court of Appeal decision (Sorrento Medical Service Pty Ltd v Chief Executive, Department of Main Roads) by excluding any person who only has a mere contractual interest (i.e. cleaning or maintenance contract) in the acquisitioned land from claiming compensation. Persons with a contractual right to enter land (such as an easement or car park license) will still have a right to claim compensation.
The Court of Appeal had extended the class of persons who may be entitled to claim compensation to those holding only a personal right in the land but not a proprietary right in the land. Prior to the recent Court of Appeal decision, the Act had been interpreted to mean that a person was only entitled to compensation in respect of resumed land if that person had a freehold or a leasehold estate, or an interest such as an easement.
This bill introduces a separate head of claim for disturbance items to simplify the land acquisition process. Disturbance items are those costs which are the reasonable and probable results of the acquisition and are not reflected in the valuation of the land (i.e. removal costs, reconnections, valuation and legal fees). Several other key amendments were also introduced by the bill:
clarification that the taking of an easement under the Act does not extinguish any interests over the relevant land
allowing for a notice of intention to resume to be served on a body corporate rather than each individual owner, and
allowing claims for the consequential costs of purchasing a replacement investment property.
The bill can be viewed here.
Companies whose business operations are involved in the energy and resources sector.
This publication aims to provide you with an overview of recent legal developments that are relevant to your business. Should you wish to discuss any of the information attached please contact the relevant Partner.