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Compulsory Acquisition of Property Assets and Businesses – Adelaide

In certain limited circumstances Federal, State or Local Governments can compulsorily acquire your property.

Compulsory acquisition of land is covered by the Land Acquisition Act 1969 (SA) (the Act). Under the Act an Authority, such as a local council or the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, can acquire land or the right to place any easement, right of way or other licence on the land, whether an owner agrees to it or not.

Receiving a Notice of Intent (NOI) from an Authority to acquire your property can be a stressful and confusing situation for any property owner. If you are affected by a compulsory acquisition there are steps you can take to ensure your rights as a property owner are protected, and you get fair compensation in the event you cannot prevent the acquisition.

At Scammell & Co. we will ensure you get the compensation that you are entitled to. Our knowledgeable and experienced solicitors can assist you in obtaining not only the true value of your property, but also any loss of potential or special value that your property may hold, the cost of any loss to your business, relocation costs and any other associated costs relating to the compulsory acquisition.


Adelaide North-South Corridor Project – Land Acquisitions


The North–South Corridor is a series of major road projects currently completed, under construction or in the planning phase. Once all stages are complete it will provide motorists with a continuous, non-stop motorway from Old Noarlunga in the outer southern metropolitan Adelaide suburbs through to Nuriootpa in the inner northern rural area around the Barossa Valley, a distance of over 100 km. The project has a completion date of 2030.

The route comprises a number of major road links in the metropolitan area with the final project culminating as, from north to south, the Northern Expressway, the North–South Motorway, and the Southern Expressway.

Do you have an interest in a property or business affected by the construction of Adelaide’s North-South Corridor Project?

If your interest in the land is divested or diminished or it is adversely affected by the acquisition of land to make way for the project, you are entitled to compensation.

Compensation is based on fair market value of the property on either a whole or partial acquisition basis.

Scammell & Co. will negotiate with the Authority on your behalf to ensure you get fair and reasonable compensation. The amount of compensation will depend on:

  • the circumstances of the acquisition;
  • the area of land being acquired;
  • its value; and
  • whether other forms of compensation are payable such as business losses, severance or disturbance.

Associated costs in relation to the acquisition should also be reimbursed. These costs cover services such as valuations, legal expenses and conveyancing where deemed appropriate and within the circumstances of the acquisition.

It is important to understand there are established procedures and strict time-frames to adhere to during the negotiation stage and (if necessary) the appeal process. A Scammell & Co. solicitor will ensure these are met so your settlement is not adversely affected.

Scammell & Co. can also assist property owners, businesses and tenants affected by other infrastructure projects including intersection upgrades, road-widening projects, bridge and road duplications, overpass projects and rail projects.

Our professional and experienced Compulsory Acquisition team is ready to assist you…

Graeme Hollidge

FAQs Click on the questions below to reveal the answer.

What do I do if I am faced with a claim for compulsory acquisition of my property?

In the first instance, you should seek advice from a Scammell & Co. solicitor experienced in dealing with compulsory acquisition matters. It may be that you are entitled to resist the acquisition and block it.

Secondly, if you cannot prevent the acquisition, we can assist you in ensuring you obtain the maximum compensation for your loss.

What kinds of claims can I make?

You can make claims for many types of loss and damage including the following:

  • The value of the property acquired;
  • The value of any plant and equipment acquired;
  • The damage and loss to any business which may be conducted on the acquired property;
  • Loss of past and future profits from the use of the acquired property and the business;
  • Loss of enjoyment of the property;
  • Cost of relocating;
  • Replacement costs;
  • Your legal costs; and
  • Any other reasonably related cost or loss.

How do I make a claim?

Consult Scammell & Co. who will assemble evidence to prove the maximum value of your claim. This may include obtaining expert reports such as those of experienced independent valuers and accountants. Your experts need to be specialists in preparing valuation and accounting evidence – to give your claim credibility. It is essential that the process of preparing such evidence is carefully managed.

What is a Notice of Intention to acquire land?

To begin the process the authority must serve upon each person with an interest in the land a notice of intention to acquire land Land Acquisition Act 1969 (SA). Any person affected has thirty days after receiving the notice, to ask the authority to explain in writing the reasons and any details of any scheme that the acquisition may be proposed under s 11 of the Land Acquisition Act 1969 (SA). The authority must give this information. Typical reasons for compulsory acquisition include road widening, drain building or other public works.

Within thirty days after receiving either, the notice of intention to acquire land or the reasons of the proposal, a person may object by serving written notice on the authority requesting:

  • it not to proceed
  • alteration to the boundaries
  • that any part of the land not be acquired or that further land be acquired.

In addition, a person can request that the authority not acquire the land on the grounds that the acquisition and any undertaking would:

  • seriously impair an area of scenic beauty
  • destroy or affect a site of architectural, historical or scientific interest
  • adversely affect the conservation of flora and fauna that should be conserved
  • adversely prejudice any other public interest.

Within fourteen days of receiving a request, the authority must consider the matter and serve a written notice on the person indicating whether or not it agrees with the request.

Where a person has made a request and the authority does not agree with the request, the person can apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for a review of that decision. An application for review must be made within 7 days of being served with the authority’s decision to refuse.

A decision of SACAT in this instance is not subject to further appeal under section 71 of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (SA).

The notice of intention to acquire land process does not apply to native title land. In this case, notice must be given to the native title holders or their registered representatives. The method of service is governed by the Native Title (South Australia) Act 1994.

I have received a Notice of Intention to acquire my property from an authority. Am I required to tell anyone about it?

An owner who has received a ‘Notice of Intention to Acquire Land’ must inform any prospective buyers (if you intend to on-sell the property or business), and any existing or future tenants or mortgagees of that fact. It is an offence not to disclose this information.

What is the process after receiving a Notice of Intent?

Where the authority intends to acquire the land, it must wait a minimum of three months after last serving a notice before it can proceed further. After at least three months, but before eighteen months or a longer period fixed either by:

  • agreement between the authority and the interested parties;
  • the Court (Land and Valuation Division of the Supreme Court or the Environment, Resources and Development Court; or
  • the Minister, by notice in the Government Gazette, to allow adequate time for negotiation in relation to native title.

The authority must publish a notice of acquisition in the Gazette. When the notice is published the land is held to be acquired by the authority. Copies of this notice must also be served on anyone with an interest in the land and on the Registrar at the Lands Titles Office so as to record the change on the title. In addition, the notice must be published in a newspaper circulating widely throughout the State.

If the authority decides not to proceed with any acquisition or after eighteen months or any longer period fixed after serving a notice of intention to acquire land it lapses, compensation may be claimed. Compensation must be claimed in writing within 6 months.

What is temporary occupation?

Authorities can come onto any land temporarily without having to acquire the land. The authority must give seven days written notice and can then come onto the land and commence work. This does not apply to land that is:

An authority temporarily occupying land may amongst other things, take soil samples, deposit material, make and use roads on the land or erect workshops for temporary use.

Anyone affected by a temporary occupation can apply to the court for an order that the authority acquire her or his interest in the land, or within three months, apply for compensation. Special provisions apply to native title land. The Land and Valuation Division of the Supreme Court is the court with jurisdiction to hear disputes under this Act.