How does the land acquisition process work?

How we assess the conservation value of your land

Lands offered for sale to the NPWS will usually need to be natural areas of freehold or leasehold title in good management condition. We will assess these areas in accordance with the priorities of our land acquisition strategies, both regionally and statewide.

If your land achieves a high ranking at the regional level, it will then be assessed against other high-priority properties from other regions. Areas that meet the highest priority and which can be covered by our acquisitions budget will be approved in principle for purchase, and a negotiation process will proceed.

Generally many more properties are offered to us in any one year than we can realistically buy, and even if your property has a high priority ranking we may not be able to purchase it. However, there may be opportunities to negotiate for purchase at a later date — if this is the case, we will notify you if funds become available.

Should your land fail to proceed through the negotiation process, advice will be available regarding your other options.

Negotiating a fair price for your land

It is not NPWS policy to compulsorily acquire land. We undertake negotiations with willing sellers on the basis of fair market value. Our land acquisition process follows standard NSW conveyancing practices. Should you want to sell only part of your property, it is your responsibility to arrange approvals and surveys.

To determine the property's market value, we will request a formal valuation from an independent registered valuer based on local government area, from a panel of valuers selected by the Valuer General of NSW. This valuation will form the basis of the purchase offer for the land, which will be made in writing. You may also wish to obtain an independent valuation to assist in the negotiation process, particularly if there is difficulty in agreeing on a purchase price.

Once an offer has been made, you are expected to respond in writing. There is no problem with asking for time to discuss the offer further. Once there is agreement on the purchase price, you should instruct a solicitor or agent to prepare a contract for sale. You may withdraw from the negotiations at any time, up until the date when contracts are exchanged.

You can negotiate directly in the process, or you may be represented by your agent or solicitor. Even if you offer your land to us for conservation assessment, you can still sell it to another buyer at any stage in the land acquisition process — there is no obligation to sell your land to the NPWS. If you change your mind, you do not need to enter negotiations at all.

Page last updated: 19 January 2015