How do the Public Acquisition Overlay (PAO) and other changes affect what I can do with my land?
Under the overlay you can usually continue to use your land as you have before the overlay is applied. Any changes to the way you use your land, such as building new structures, demolishing existing ones, or changing the agricultural land use, may require planning approval from your local council.
Check with your local council before doing this kind of work as planning approval will only be given where land use changes are consistent with the objectives of the planning controls.
Do my land management obligations change?
All legal management obligations under Commonwealth and State legislation remain in place on land in the proposed reserves, including protection of threatened species and ecological communities, fire protection works and control of weeds.
Natural Temperate Grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plains is listed as critically endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and damaging or destroying these grasslands may be subject to significant fines or prosecution.
Can I still do fire prevention works, such as removing native vegetation, in the Western Grassland Reserves Environmental Significance Overlay area?
You may still undertake fire prevention work to manage vegetation around your existing dwelling and boundary fence line without having to apply for a planning permit.
The '10/30 Rule' applies to your land. This rule allows you to clear any vegetation on your property, including trees, within 10 metres of an existing house and any vegetation, except trees, within 30 metres of a house for bushfire protection.
You do not need to apply for a planning permit to do these works.
In addition, you can remove any vegetation for a combined maximum width of four metres across an existing property boundary fence.
Vegetation can only be removed by the owner of the land.
For more information, visit the Environment website
Are there interim management arrangements in place?
As the acquisition process to establish the reserves will take several years, you could retain ownership of your property for a considerable time before it is acquired.
To help with land management over this period, you may be eligible for assistance for weed control and other management measures to maintain or improve the native grasslands until land is acquired by the Victorian Government.
This will help ensure that native vegetation on private land is maintained and protected, that threatened species and communities are managed appropriately, and that weeds and other threats are controlled in the reserves before acquisition by DELWP.
How much will I be paid for my property?
Compensation is calculated in accordance with the provisions of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 and is based on the market value of the land on the date of acquisition.
If only part of your property is acquired, and this impacts on the value of the remaining land, including your ability to continue using that land, then you may be eligible for further compensation.
For neighbouring properties, we at DELWP may be able to help to restore access or negotiate consolidation of adjacent properties.
When is the earliest I can sell?
Under the Public Acquisition Overlay, if you choose to sell your property the Victorian Government has the first right to buy it.
A price will be agreed through negotiation between you and the Victorian Government, which does not have to purchase your property at this stage.
If the Government chooses not to buy your property at that time, you can sell it to someone else.
You can claim compensation from the Victorian Government for the difference between the value of the land before the PAO and what you sell it for.
What if I want to stay in my home?
In some circumstances, you may be able to continue living in your home in the reserves. This will only be an option for residents where the continued occupation of the dwelling is possible (i.e. access and services are maintained), and where the occupation will not adversely affect the management of the reserves.
In cases of continuing residency, the Victorian Government will still formally take ownership of the property and any buildings, and an amount of compensation will be available.
In these cases, an amount of rent will likely be payable so that the dwelling and directly related services can continue to be maintained where otherwise such upkeep would not be required. Each request to continue to occupy a dwelling will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Page last updated: 17/02/20