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Can the Government Take Your House? Queenslanders Facing Darryl Kerrigan-style Fights

  • Written by Al Upton, Director of Butler McDermott Lawyers

Disclaimer: This article provides general information explaining complex legal concepts. Please contact Butler McDermott Lawyers for legal advice.

A lot of residents in areas like the Sunshine Coast are facing land resumptions just like Darryl Kerrigan’s family in 1997. Unfortunately, the process for these compulsory acquisitions is a little different to what we see in The Castle

The government can take your house in order to build up new projects for the construction of various public infrastructure. A lot of these include upgrades to current infrastructure like the Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrade and the Bruce Highway Upgrade.

It can feel daunting for these Queenslanders having to give up their homes. We know it’s not a house, it’s a home. So, if the government wants to take your home, what can you do to “tell them they’re dreaming”?

What is the Acquisition of Land Act 1967?

The Acquisition of Land Act 1967 is the legislation that covers the law and processes required for the government to compulsorily take land.

The Castle handles the land resumption a little differently, as it talks a little more about the Constitution and is set in Melbourne. So, the legislation relevant to Queenslanders is different. 

Under the Act, the government (in most Queensland cases, the Coordinator-General), can compulsorily acquire land with or without the landowners agreement. Most of the time, the Coordinator-General will try to negotiate an agreement. These agreements are made according to Section 15 of the Act.

What do you do if you get a compulsory acquisition notice?

If you receive a compulsory acquisition notice, more formally known as a “Notice of Intention to Resume,” you have two options. You can either agree to the acquisition and move straight to receiving compensation, or you can attempt to fight it by filing an objection.

There are some requirements to objecting to a compulsory acquisition. You have to do a little more than argue for “the vibe of it” (not that it did much for Darryl Kerrigan either). 

These objections must:

  • - be filed at least 30 days from the date you were served the Notice of Intention to Resume
  • - be in writing and received by the given address by the given date in the Notice of Intention to Resume
  • - state the objection arguments, the reasons and supporting facts and circumstances (such as the project being better put elsewhere)

When should you call a lawyer?

There are two main points in the land resumption process where you should contact your lawyer. 

You will want to contact your lawyer to file your objection and ensure that all the necessary documents and evidence is needed. If the objections are not accepted, you will also want a lawyer to help submit compensation claims and negotiate with the government to receive proper compensation.

Butler McDermott are your experienced lawyers on the Sunshine Coast, representing dozens of clients for the past, current, and upcoming Sunshine Coast Council projects.  If you have received a Notice of Intention to Resume, given the short deadlines, it is recommended that you do not delay in getting immediate legal advice in relation to the calculation of your compensation entitlements and your rights to negotiation and appeal.  


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