Public acquisition overlays

On this page, you will find information about public acquisition overlays.

You can use our planning process glossary to help explain any technical terms included on this page.

On this page:

What is a public acquisition overlay?

A public acquisition overlay (PAO) is the way land is reserved for a public purpose and indicates that this land could be compulsory acquired in the future. 

The purpose of a PAO is to:

  • identify land which is proposed to be acquired by a minister, public authority or council
  • reserve land for a public purpose and to ensure that changes to the use or development of the land do not affect this
  • designate a Minister, public authority or council as an acquiring authority for land reserved for a public purpose.

Why land acquisition is necessary

Sometimes it is necessary for the Department of Transport to acquire land in order to: 

  • widen roads 
  • upgrade intersections
  • create a new road
  • improve the general safety of roads.

If the Department of Transport is the acquiring authority, the land has been reserved for road purposes. 

Developing your land with a PAO in place

If a PAO applies to your land and you want to undertake certain uses or works (e.g. build a shed) on the land where the PAO applies, you will need to get a planning permit from your local council. Council will then contact the Department of Transport, who are identified in the planning scheme as the acquiring authority for their views on the proposal. 

It is a good idea to contact the Department of Transport with details of your proposal before lodging a planning permit. 

Property enquiry 

It is a good idea to lodge a property enquiry with the Department of Transport if you are unsure a PAO applies to your land or if you would like to find out if your land could be affected by a future transport plan. 

For more information, please contact the Department of Transport

Expiry dates 

There is no expiry date for public acquisition overlays, they can be placed on land indefinitely, until that land is required for road purposes. 
 
The law in Victoria does not specify a certain amount of time for compulsory acquisition after a PAO has been placed on the land. 

Acquisition process

The compulsory acquisition process undertaken by the Department of Transport will be in accordance with the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986
 
This process can usually only occur either: 

  • once your land has been reserved under a public acquisition overlay in the planning scheme
  • if the project area is designated under the Major Transport Project Facilitation Act 2009.

More information can be found via the following resources:

Compensation entitlements

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to claim compensation under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 prior to the Department of Transport acquiring your land.
 
Visit our Compensation page for more information on land acquisition compensation.

When land is no longer required

If the Department of Transport determines that your land is no longer required, the public acquisition overlay will be removed. 

Any compensation paid by the Department of Transport will need to be repaid back to the Department of Transport under the Planning and Environment Act 1987

Exemptions

There are a number of exemptions to the requirement that land to be compulsorily acquired must first be ‘reserved’ under a planning scheme through its inclusion in a public acquisition overlay. 

For more information, please contact the Department of Transport.