Altering compensation entitlements if underground strata is acquired

The amendments (new ss 163-164) will alter the compensation a person is entitled to for the acquisition of an interest in underground land by an Order made under s 162 or 162B. The compensation entitlement is altered in two main ways:

  • A person will not be entitled to compensation in relation to the effect of an Order at a depth of 15 metres or more below the surface of land. The reason for this limit is that titles granted since the late 19th century have had a depth of either 50 feet or 15 metres, so an acquisition at a greater depth puts owners of old titles in a similar position to those with newer titles. 
  • For acquisitions at a depth shallower than 15 metres, compensation will be limited to only market value (i.e. no claim can be made for other losses that would be claimable under the LAC Act, such as for professional expenses). The amendments also provide for that loss of market value to be assessed on a 'before' and 'after' basis, as currently applies under the LAC Act.