Matter: Compulsory Acquisition for Council Infrastructure

Fraser Coast engaged Marrawah Law for advice and possible compulsory acquisition of a parcel of land identified for a wastewater treatment plant. Our lawyers have successfully completed compulsory acquisitions of native title for numerous Queensland local governments for a wide range of purposes including freeholding of State land for residential and industrial purposes and a wide range of infrastructure projects. In total our lawyers have assisted Queensland local government acquire native title over more than 150 land parcels.

Key Issues and challenges:

A number of Queensland local governments use Marrawah Law to assist them with the compulsory acquisition of native title for a range of purposes including freeholding for residential and industrial purposes and infrastructure projects. Our solicitors are generally instructed to provide advice in relation to all aspects of the application and deal with the application process.

A key challenge in this process was managing the compulsory acquisition alongside the ongoing and active native title proceedings for this region. A very close working relationship with all parties was required as well as close monitoring of native title decisions and announcements.

Our Approach:

Our solicitors provided advice to the Fraser Coast Council about a parcel of land identified for a wastewater treatment plant. Advice was provided on the application of relevant Land Act 1994 (Qld) and Strategic Land Asset Management policies, preparation of the application and liaison with land officers in the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, survey requirements, native title compliance requirements satisfying conditions of offer for tenure grants and seeking extension of the offer.

Negotiations between Fraser Coast Regional Council and the identified registered native applicants were initiated before the statutory process to compulsory acquisition of native title rights and interests commenced.

At the time, the consent determination negotiations with the registered native applicants was in final stages and it was difficult to progress the acquisition negotiations within the project timeframe. Fraser Coast Regional Council resolved to commence the acquisition process (for both native title and non-native title interests) and to also continue negotiations.

During this period the registered native applicants reduced the size of their claim area with the consequence that the registered claim no longer affected the parcel identified for the wastewater treatment plant. Despite the amendment, the registered native title applicants were not prepared to remove the objection they had lodged during the notice period.

The Council resolved to proceed with the acquisition, and we prepared submissions that were lodged with the acquisition application. The Minister made a decision to acquire the native title rights and interests in the parcel area.

Outcomes and Benefits for Client / Achievements:

All requirements to enable the wastewater treatment plant were met. All of the objections received were resolved.

Innovative Thinking:

We have the most up-to-date experience possible in relation to the law on native title compulsory acquisition. The approach taken takes into account client timeframes, the native title landscape, considering alternatives (such as an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and investigating prior extinguishment) and our client’s preferred approach.

In this matter, our involvement in the native title claim proceedings enabled us to identify quickly the change in status of the native title landscape and as a consequence, our client’s instructions were reviewed and the proposed approach to be taken was adjusted.

If you have a Native Title enquiry or would like to find out more information about our Indigenous legal services, then please give us a call on (07) 4041 3088 for a no obligation discussion. ☎️