Lands Acquisition


List of Legislation

Access to this legislation can be made by clicking on the title of the legislation.

Summary of the Main Acts

Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA) [External Site] :

The acquisition and disposal of any interest in property by the Commonwealth needs to be authorised under the Act.

  • Property may be acquired by compulsory acquisition, by negotiated agreement or purchase of property available in the open market ie commercial transactions.
  • Routine commercial property transactions (which represent about 90 % of all transactions) are mostly dealt with by entity officials under delegated authority.
  • Compulsory acquisitions must be personally authorised by the Minister and compensation is payable in such circumstances.
  • Certain procedures must be followed when property is acquired by negotiated agreement.
  • The Minister needs to authorise the disposal of property.

All authorities are subject to the LAA except:

  • a body politic
  • an incorporated association or society
  • an incorporated company, or
  • a body of trustees.

Other authorities may be excluded from some or all parts of the LAA by virtue of their enabling legislation or by regulation under the LAA.

The LAA was amended in 2008. The key amendments are outlined below.

  • Amendment to section 124 of the LAA now allows a platform to promulgate Commonwealth Mining Regulations. This means that regulations may be made to allow States and Territories to administer exploration and or mining on Commonwealth land. The intention is to provide a consistent regulatory framework for the management and administration of mining on Commonwealth land.
  • The ability of the Minister to initiate an offer of compensation to an interest holder without a claim being made. This promotes efficiencies and fairness in the application of the Act by expediting the acquisition process and easing the financial and administrative burden associated with the compensation process. This amendment is reflected in section 74A of the LAA.
  • The removal of the requirement to table agreed acquisitions of interests available in the market. However, the Minister is still required to table overseas transaction details. This amendment eliminates duplication in reporting as AusTender reports on agreed acquisitions of interests that is available in the market.
  • Permission for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 to administer land on the Cocos Islands, which is reflected in section 5 of the LAA and section 18B of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955. This is consistent with similar provisions that are in place for section 21A of the Christmas Island Act 1958 and section 62 of the Norfolk Island Act 1979.
  • The replacement of the reference to the Attorney-General with the Minister for Finance subsection 122 of the Act on land dedicated for public purpose.
  • The repeal of the Lands Acquisition (Defence) Act 1968. This will eliminate redundant legislation which was created to acquire parkland in New South Wales.

Lands Acquisition (Northern Territory Pastoral Leases) Act 1981 [External Site] :

Two former pastoral leases (Mudginberri and Munmarlary) were compulsorily acquired under this Act to remove challenges to their original acquisition.

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Contact for information on this page: Lands Acquisition - Contact Officer