By Maureen Peatman*
Councils throughout New South Wales have wide powers of compulsory acquisition for the purpose of exercising any of their functions. The legislature put a fetter on councils’ power of compulsory acquisition: councils may not acquire land by compulsory process without the approval of the owner of the land if it is being acquired for the purpose of resale. The question then turns on the meanings of “sale” and “purpose” in dealing with complex agreements. This article reviews two cases that were ultimately determined by the High Court, which held Parramatta Council’s proposed compulsory acquisitions of land to be unlawful, thus upholding private landowners’ rights. The article also reviews the subsequent legislative amendments by the New South Wales Parliament, which were promulgated to overcome the decision of the High Court.
The full article can be accessed here: “High Court reinforces private land owners’ rights” (2009) 15 LGLJ 80.
*Partner, Hunt & Hunt.