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Gympie Road on the Sunshine Coast - compulsory land acquisitions have been made by the Government to work ont he Mooloolaba Transport Corridor and Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrades

Do You Need a Lawyer to Negotiate Compensation for a Compulsory Land Acquisition?

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

If your land is being resumed by the government, you are entitled to compensation. The process for determining the amount of compensation payable to you is more complex than the government simply purchasing your land on the open market. There can be many factors that affect your compensation – and what the government offers you might be less than your lawful entitlement. Make sure that you are maximising your compensation by engaging with a lawyer experienced in land acquisitions.

How does compensation for compulsory acquisition work in Queensland?

If you receive a Notice of Intention to Resume from the government, you are entitled to object to the proposed acquisition of your land. If that occurs, you should contact our experienced lawyers to ensure that any valid objections you may have available to you are made and considered by the government.

If the acquisition proceeds, a notice will be published in the Government Gazette confirming that the government has acquired your land. From the publication of that notice, (often called a ‘Gazettal’), your ownership of the land ends and is converted into a right to claim compensation from the government under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967. There are time limits that apply to notifying the government of a claim for compensation, so it is best to consult a lawyer to ensure that your claim is validly notified.

Importantly, it is not just the owner of the land who is entitled to claim compensation from the government. Rather, any person with an estate or interest in land (including persons who hold a lease or licence to use the land) will be entitled to make a claim.

In Queensland, you may be entitled to claim compensation for:

  • the value of land acquired at the date of the Gazettal
  • damage to any severed balance parcel of land
  • disturbance costs, which include legal and professional costs, costs incurred in purchasing a replacement property, removal costs, storage costs, and loss of profits caused by the resumption

Different considerations apply if the government acquires an easement over your land, rather than acquiring the land itself, and your compensation will instead be based on how your land is affected by the easement.

Your claim for compensation should be supported by an expert valuation opinion, and you may also benefit from advice from other consultants (for example, a town planner). There is a lot to cover, so be sure to engage with your lawyer.

The government has made an offer to pay some monetary compensation, what do you do?

Often, the government will engage a valuer and make an offer to pay compensation before you have even lodged a claim.

However, just because a government authority is offering you compensation it does not mean you need to accept it. Often, the amount of compensation on offer will increase once you consult a lawyer, who may identify additional amounts which are claimable according to the Acquisition of Land Act.

Government making an offer on compulsory acquisition of land - you do not need to accept
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Ordinarily, that will also involve consulting a valuer to confirm that the government’s assessment of land value is fair and reasonable. The Acquisition of Land Act requires the government to compensate a landowner for their reasonable legal and valuation fees incurred in preparing their claim for compensation, and so seeking expert advice is the logical next step.

You are still not happy after negotiations, what do you do now?

If you cannot agree on compensation, you or the government can refer your claim for compensation to the Land Court of Queensland. There, a member of the Court will determine the proper measure of compensation payable according to the Acquisition of Land Act.

Because of the expense involved in a referral to the Land Court, your lawyers will also discuss the mediation of your claim as an interim step.

Why you need a Butler McDermott Lawyer

Negotiating your compensation can be a big task. After all, you want to make sure that you are getting the right amount of money for the land that you once lived on, worked from, or derived an income from. You are not just selling your home on the open market; you are defending your rights against a government body that has decided to acquire your land, often without any thought for your concerns or objections.

It is not uncommon to feel significant stress in those circumstances. The best way you can ensure you are maximising your compensation is by engaging a lawyer experienced in land acquisitions.

Director Brent King, consultant Peter Boyce, and our lawyers are well-versed in the law of compulsory acquisition, having assisted and represented many Sunshine Coast residents with resumption matters, including the Traveston Crossing Dam, the Mooloolaba Transport Corridor Upgrade, the Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrade, and the Sugar Road and Maud Street Upgrade. We act on your behalf to negotiate with the government, so that you can focus on moving forward.

Want to maximise compensation for your beautiful Sunshine Coast land? Contact Butler McDermott today.

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Simone Faunt


Peter Boyce


Peter has been practising as a Nambour Solicitor since 1977 and joined Butler McDermott Lawyers the same year.

With over 40 years practicing as a Sunshine Coast lawyer, Peter has extensive knowledge of various facets of law.

He has practised in all areas of litigation and has special interests in:

  • Criminal law
  • Civil and Commercial litigation
  • Retirement Village matters
  • Sports law
  • Resumption of land and compensation claims


Peter has specialised knowledge of and experience with resumption matters as a result of the Traveston Dam project, road corridors, Main Roads and water pipeline. He is renowned for his professional approach and is an experienced and determined advocate.

Brent King


Brent works as a litigation lawyer, providing litigation legal advice in relation to both civil and criminal law matters, including:
  • Defamation Claims
  • Contract and Debt Disputes
  • Building and Construction Disputes
  • Planning Matters
  • Criminal Law and Traffic Legal Matters
Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast and joining Butler McDermott after the completion of his studies, Brent appreciates the needs of our clients, and brings a particularly commercial approach to litigation. Brent is a member of the Queensland Law Society and the Sunshine Coast Law Association, and has litigated a wide variety of matters in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts.

Al Upton


After arriving at Butler McDermott Lawyers in 2016, Al quickly progressed to running our Wills and Estates section and has successfully litigated disputes in the Supreme and District Courts of Queensland in the early stages of his career.

In the years that followed Al has now moved to assist our clients with commercial and property matters having achieved positive outcomes in that area as well as general litigation. Al’s experience has him uniquely placed to provide quality advice in the areas of property, commercial, wills and estates and general litigation.

Al is involved in giving back to the community, sitting on the board for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and Sundale Community Foundation. He otherwise became a director of Butler McDermott Lawyers in November 2021.