Compulsory Acquisition: 12 August 2022
On 5 August 2022, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change approved the Environment Effects Statement ('EES') for the Suburban Rail Loop East Project.
The Minister concluded that the environmental effects could be acceptably managed, subject to some recommendations that have been made and have otherwise recommended the Project proceed, subject to formal approvals.
You can view the Minister's assessment and comments via the following link: https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/browse-projects/projects/suburban-rail-loop-east#overview
The next step is for the Authority to obtain approvals from the relevant decision makers to proceed with the Project, which includes the application of a Public Acquisition Overlay or Specific Controls Overlay or the declaration of affected land as Project Land required by the Project. Once this occurs, the Authority will be in a position to commence the compulsory acquisition process for the Project.
In addition to the formal compulsory acquisition process, the Minister has recommended (as did the Independent Advisory Committee who oversaw the EES panel hearing) that a voluntary acquisition scheme should be made available for the Box Hill area for residential properties. In addition, the Minister has recommended that a voluntary business and commercial acquisition plan be considered, which will include guidance about eligibility for the scheme (if implemented), which will address those businesses that may not be viable due to the Project construction works.
It is unclear what the guidelines for these recommended voluntary acquisition schemes are or if the relevant decision-makers will implement them. However, in the past, voluntary acquisition schemes have been made available to affected landowners for the Carnegie and Coburg Skyrail Projects, who met the relevant requirements for those schemes. We expect details regarding the voluntary acquisition scheme will also become available once the Authority is in a position to commence the compulsory acquisition process.
If you would like a greater understanding of the compulsory acquisition or voluntary acquisition process in relation to the Project or would like to discuss whether a Public Acquisition Overlay or Specific Controls Overlay is likely to be placed over your property, please feel free to contact us to arrange a mutually convenient time to discuss your queries.
Aitken Partners Compulsory Acquisition Team has more than two decades of combined experience in representing landowners, tenants and business owners in compulsory acquisition claims in most (if not all) of Victoria's major infrastructure projects.
If you are impacted (or believe you may be impacted) by the Suburban Rail Loop Project, it is important you engage lawyers experienced in the compulsory acquisition and voluntary negotiation matters to assist you in obtaining advice on appropriate compensation that may be payable.
If you are affected (or believe you may be affected) by the Suburban Rail Loop East, please contact us on 03 8600 6000 to arrange a time to speak with our Compulsory Acquisition Team regarding the approval of the Project and/or the compulsory acquisition process and your potential rights to compensation as a result of the Project.