What do you do when the Government wants to compulsorily acquire your property?

What do you do when the Government wants to compulsorily acquire your property?

Jul 28, 2022

Have you recently been notified by the government because your property will form part of a road, rail or other infrastructure project?
Given the amount of infrastructure projects going on in NSW at the moment, it’s no surprise. The amount of people affected by new infrastructure projects is now greater than ever.

When a Government authority acquires property, they have to work within the rules of legislation called the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991. They are also required to negotiate with owners using a valuation of the as a basis of the negotiation discussions.

The steps that follow are usually (but vary slightly depending between authorities):

Initial contact

You are notified that your property is in the alignment of a proposed infrastructure project.

Offer to purchase

The acquiring authority makes an offer to buy your property using their valuation as a basis of their offer.

Valuation Exchange

You send the valuation you complete to the acquiring authority they send you their valuation in return. This is the start of the negotiation process.

Valuers Conference 
The owners, acquiring authorities and respective valuers meet to discuss the valuations and their shortfalls with a view to try to reach come common ground. This process can occur multiple times depending on the market conditions or the complexity of the property being acquired.

Updated Offers

The authority sends you a revised offer based on these. This is accepted or rejected by the owners. The property either settles from here or goes to the compulsory acquisition process.

PAN period

If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, A PAN (or Proposed Acquisition Notice) is issued to the owners of the property notifying them of a notice period (typically 60-90 days) that the government will use its compulsory powers. Eleventh hour negotiations with the acquiring authority can still occur during this period.


After the notice period in the PAN concludes, the property is published in the NSW Government Gazette. The property has then been compulsorily acquired by the authority becomes the property of the government authority. The owners have not been paid anything for their property yet however.

Valuer General Valuation

A third valuer engaged by the Valuer General (VG) to complete an impartial valuation. Part of their role includes consideration of the valuations completed to date over the property and consideration of all the features of the are applicable to the property. The result of this valuation will become the eventual compensation amount that you will be paid. Generally within around 42 days of the date of Gazette.


If the compensation amount provided by the VG is not acceptable, you have the right to appeal this valuation to the Land and Environment Court of NSW. This is another detailed process that will be covered in a later post.

All of this might be very daunting and confusing, but what do you do now?

  • Engage a valuer early and make sure they are experienced with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 – Our team works on these valuations daily and has all the experience you need to help get the best outcome,
  • You will need a solicitor that also knows the process and legislation well – Titan works with, and can recommend several solicitors that work frequently with this type of acquisition,
  • Remember that good negotiated outcome is often better than a hard fought one. Use this to your advantange and try to get an outcome that is mutually beneficial and less stressful for everyone.
  • Your outcome and your experience will only be as good as the advice you are getting. Get the best advice you can find. This sounds expensive but assured, valuation and legal fees get reimbursed by the Acquiring Authority as part of the Acquisition process – check out our post on what you are entitled to find out what you are actually entitled to in accordance with the legislation.
  • A good valuer will also point you in the direction of other advice if required, we regularly work with business valuers, engineers, town planners and contamination experts to make sure you have the most accurate and best advice you can get in what is a very stressful and daunting experience.