It is over 30 years since the commencement of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (the LAA), the key legislation used by the Commonwealth to acquire and dispose of interests in land. Over time, complex land acquisition processes involving compensation payments to landholders have become more difficult to finalise. The Government conducted a public review of the LAA (the Review) during 2020 and 2021 to look at how it could be improved to best support the Commonwealth and other interest holders into the future.
Outcomes of the Review
The Finance Minister issued a media release on 17 August 2021 releasing the Review Report and announcing that the Government had accepted all recommendations in full.
- Review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 – Final Report (docx)
- Review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 – Final Report (pdf)
The Review made 16 recommendations for targeted legislative, policy and administrative reforms to deliver a streamlined and more efficient Commonwealth lands acquisition framework.
Changes to the legislation will not be retrospective
Changes to the legislation will not be retrospective. Any acquisition processes that commence before legislative changes occur will continue to fall under the existing LAA provisions. This will provide certainty for claimants, acquiring authorities and other persons involved in an acquisition process.
Terms of Reference
The Government has asked the Department of Finance (Finance) to conduct a review of the LAA, including public consultation, to ensure it:
- reflects community expectations around public sector responsiveness and timeliness;
- minimises delay and uncertainty in finalising compensation claims with affected parties; and
- minimises administrative costs and provides value for money.
The Review will consider the broad scope of operations and functions under the LAA, including administrative requirements. In doing so, it will consider matters such as, but not limited to:
- how the LAA can best support acquisition and disposal of land by the Commonwealth for public purposes in a way that is fair and efficient to all parties;
- whether the LAA legislation and associated guidance can be simplified to make it easier for all parties to understand and apply; and
- how best to balance the main objectives of the Act with modern public administrative and legal principles.
The Review will be guided by the principles of:
- equity and fairness – ensuring affected interest holders are treated fairly (on 'just terms');
- timeliness – ensuring community expectations around public sector responsiveness are met;
- transparency – being appropriately accountable to Parliament and the public for the use of acquisition powers and management of land assets; and
- value for money – ensuring expenditure of public money on interests in land, and the management of land as a public resource, represents value for money.
- 2020_03_02 - Rowan Ramsey - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_04_02 - Sydney Harbour Association - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_04_17 - Town of Port Headland Office - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_05_08 - National Farmers Federation - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_06_10 - Queensland Law Society - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_09_11 - Claudia Tregoning - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_09_27 - Sydney Harbour Association - LAA Review Supplementary Submission
- 2020_10_16 - Livingstone Shire Council - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_10_19 - Real Estate Institute of Australia - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_10_22 - Law Council of Australia - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_10_23 - ACT Law Society - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_10_23 - Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_10_23 - TAS Legal - LAA Review Submission
- 2020_10_26 - Association of Mining and Exploration Companies - LAA Review Submission
Submissions are now closed.
Publication of Submissions
Submissions have been made available on the Finance website, unless the submitter has indicated that they would like all or part of their submission to remain in confidence. Submissions made anonymously or under a pseudonym may also be published unless the submitter has indicated that they would like all or part of their submission to remain in confidence. Finance also reserves the right to not publish a submission or any part of a submission, including on the basis that Finance considers it does not meet the Terms of Reference.
Authors of submissions were asked to provide clearly marked confidential material in a separate attachment to the submission or to provide instructions if their submission was to remain in confidence.
Finance endeavours to maintain confidentiality subject to our legal obligations, including under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Information required for submissions
Authors of submissions were asked to include the author's name, contact details, and, where appropriate, the organisation making the submission to assist Finance in contacting authors to clarify confidentiality or content, if required.
Submissions to the review were able to be made anonymously or under a pseudonym. In these circumstances Finance was not be able to contact authors to clarify their submission.
Information of third parties
Authors were asked to not include personal, legal or business information from third parties unless they had sought consent from the affected individuals. Finance may not consider information relating to third parties if their consent had not been provided with the submission.
Privacy Collection Notice
- Discussion paper: Review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989
- Report: Review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989
- Lands Acquisition Act 1989
- Commonwealth Property Disposal Policy
- Commonwealth Property Management Framework
- Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Media release (13/01/2020)
- Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Media release (17/08/21)