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Compulsory Acquisition success for Provans Timber

Compulsory Acquisition: 18 June 2019

On 14 June 2019, the Supreme Court of Victoria handed down an important decision regarding the assessment of compensation pursuant to the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic) (the Act) regarding the interests of and compensation payable to related claimants (Provans Timber Pty Ltd v Secretary to the Dept of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources [2019] VSC 390).

In this case there was a long standing family owned hardware business being conducted on land also owned by the family. As is often the case a separate company owned the land to the company that conducted the hardware business, but both companies were ultimately owned by the family. The Authority argued that for the purposes of compensation that the two companies ought be treated as one entity.

However, the Court found that both companies had an interest in the acquired land and both were entitled to separate heads of compensation. Therefore, the landholding company was entitled to compensation for market value for the property based on its highest and best use and separately the business operating the hardware business from the property was entitled to be compensated for its relocation expenses as a result of the acquisition of the property.

In summary, the Court found:

  • the Act provides a statutory right to compensation to every person with an interest in land acquired that is either divested or diminished by a compulsory acquisition;
  • in accordance with the Act each interested person is to be paid their full entitlement to compensation; and
  • related parties who each hold separate interests in the acquired land are entitled to compensation by reason of their respective interests.

Aitken Partners acted for the successful claimants in these proceedings.

A copy of the full decision can be accessed here.

The Compulsory Acquisition Team at Aitken Partners has more than 35 years combined experience in representing landowners impacted by compulsory acquisitions. As highlighted above, compulsory land acquisition is a complex and unique area of law which in most cases involves more than just compensation for the taking of land. It is imperative that any individual or entity impacted by a compulsory land acquisition obtains appropriate legal advice to ensure they are in the best position to claim all that they are entitled to should land be ultimately acquired.

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