Council land disposals and acquisitions law under review

Legislation regulating the disposal of Commonwealth land to local governments and the acquisition of council land by the Commonwealth is being reviewed.

While the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA) has not changed substantially since its enactment over 30 years ago, complex land acquisition processes involving compensation payments to landholders have become more difficult to finalise.

The review – being conducted by the Federal Department of Finance – is looking at how the LAA could be improved to best support the Commonwealth and other interest holders into the future.

Some of the ways the LAA may be relevant to local governments include:

  • local governments may have experience with Commonwealth acquisitions (whether “compulsory’’ or ‘’by agreement’’) occurring in their local community;
  • local governments may have experience with Commonwealth disposals of land occurring in their local community, including working with the Commonwealth to achieve land use/planning outcomes; and
  • arrangements relating to the Commonwealth’s compulsory acquisition of local government land designated as park land, and ‘’land swaps’’.

The Finance Department would like to hear from members of the Australian Local Government Association on their experiences with the LAA.

Because the review has a modernisation and improvement focus, the department would also be interested in local governments’ reflections on best practice in government land acquisitions (by agreement and/or by compulsory process) based on experience with state/territory programs as well as Commonwealth acquisitions.

Submissions to the Review can be made until Monday 19 October 2020. Submissions need not address all questions in the discussion paper and can comment on other aspects of the LAA.

Contact or visit the Finance website for more information, including the terms of reference and discussion paper for the review.