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Review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (Cth)

The submission in response to the review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (Cth) (LAA) being conducted by the Department of Finance (the Department) and overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of various Government departments was prepared by the Law Council of Australia. 

On 3 September 2020, the Department called for submissions on the LAA review from interested parties, with reference to its Discussion Paper on the subject. The Discussion Paper prompts discussion on possible areas of reform of the LAA, noting that for the purposes of ensuring certainty for parties to an acquisition process, legislative changes will not be retrospective. 

The stated purpose of the review is to ensure the LAA:

• 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 Law Council commends the Department for seeking stakeholder views on the substance and administration of the LAA, and on what changes could be made to improve the LAA (particularly around the ‘guiding principles’ of the review, being equity and fairness, timeliness, transparency and value for money).

Indeed, the Law Council notes that the LAA has been in operation for thirty years without substantial amendment. As a preliminary point, the Law Council is supportive of measures that would allow for more frequent reviews of the LAA in order to give effect to the aims of the current review and to reflect the guiding principles set out in the Discussion Paper.

You can read the full submission below.
 

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