Land Acquisition and Disposal


Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA)

The Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA) [External Site] is an important component of the Commonwealth’s Property Management Framework, and the Act applies to most acquisitions and disposals of interests in land by the Commonwealth. 

The LAA also applies in relation to applications to access Commonwealth land for mineral exploration and mining activities.

The expression ‘interests in land’ is widely defined in the LAA, and includes both freehold and leasehold interests.

The LAA specifically applies to the acquisition or disposal of an interest in land by an ‘acquiring authority’ (defined to mean ‘the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth authority’).

The acquisition or disposal of an interest in land by an acquiring authority must be authorised under the Act, either by the Finance Minister or a delegated official, unless the transaction is exempt from the operation of the LAA.

  • Under the LAA, interests in land may be acquired by compulsory process or by agreement.
  • Routine property transactions (about 90 per cent of all Commonwealth property transactions) are usually dealt with by officials under delegated authority.
  • All compulsory acquisitions require the Minister’s authority and compensation is payable.
  • The key steps in these acquisition processes are identified in sections 19 and 20 of the LAA.

Dealings in land vested in an acquiring authority are covered by Part X of the LAA.  In particular, an acquiring authority may not dispose of an interest in land otherwise than in accordance with Part X, unless the transaction is exempt from the LAA.

The Minister for Finance currently has portfolio responsibility for the administration of the LAA, and the Minister for Finance  has delegated a number of functions and powers under the LAA to officers within the Department of Finance and also to officers within other Commonwealth bodies.

Minister’s delegation: Lands Acquisitions Delegations 2016

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Contact for information on this page: Land Acquisition and Disposal - Contact Officer

Last updated: 01 December 2016