Private Infrastructure Facilities: How can the Government resume my land for a private company?
The golden rule to remember is that only governments or their corporate entities can resume your land for a public purpose. If someone therefore wants to buy your land for their own purposes then it is merely a case of a Buyer and Seller dealing with one another and striking a deal.
Infrastructure projects, such as railways or coal seam gas pipelines, are often of such a large scale that they need to be built over privately owned land. When this infrastructure is being built by a private company, the company must negotiate with the private Landowner/s to agree on compensation and terms for use of the land just like any private person might negotiate a sale or access.
During these negotiations, a company may say that they will apply to have their Project declared a “Private Infrastructure Facility (PIF)” by the Government. A PIF approval is only granted to a project after careful consideration and consultation of the social, economic and environmental impacts and significance of the project, the financial and technical ability of the company, the benefits of the project to Queensland and other important criteria. The Government does not have to grant PIF to a project if he is not satisfied the project meets these criteria.
A private company cannot apply for their project to be a PIF until they made genuine and reasonable efforts to negotiate with all private landowners affected by the project for a minimum period of six months.
If a project is declared as a Private Infrastructure Facility, the Government may compulsorily acquire private land on behalf of the company to facilitate building the project. However, there is still an extensive process of consultation between all parties, further negotiations and obligations the company must meet before Government will agree to resume the land.
If you are a landowner affected by an infrastructure project, it is important to be aware of the laws and processes a company must follow so that you can make an informed decision regarding the future of your property.