A NSW Government website

Land and easement acquisition and compensation

Support for landowners

Free resources are available to support landowners, their families, tenants, and directly affected parties impacted by property access and acquisition. 

Visit our support for landowners page for more information.

How we select transmission line routes

Picking the right path: How we choose transmission line routes

Building new power lines is important, but we want to do it right. We consider five key things to make sure the lines cause the least disruption:

  • People: We try to avoid placing lines near homes and towns
  • Environment: we look for areas that are already disturbed, like mine sites and existing easements, to minimise harm to nature and cultural sites
  • Planning for the future We make sure the lines fit within the big picture for electricity in our State (see: Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap)
  • Making it work: The lines need to be efficient and reliable to keep the lights on
  • Keeping costs down: We want to build lines and infrastructure in a way that saves money for everyone who uses electricity.

Finding the best route

Here's what we aim for when picking a path for the lines:

  • Stay away from cities and towns: We avoid population centres to minimise impact on people
  • Space around homes: We keep the lines as far from houses as possible
  • Share the land: When crossing farms, we try to avoid prime farmland and important farm buildings so farmers can keep working
  • Use already disturbed land: We look for areas already disturbed that can be used
  • Minimise clearing: We try to choose paths that need the least amount of trees and plans cut down
  • Protect special places: We avoid areas important to Aboriginal people and endangered wildlife
  • Keep water clean: We avoid of rivers, lakes, and streams to protect water quality
  • Build it right once: We plan carefully to avoid needing to make changes later

Working with the community to shape the project

Once we have a general idea of where the lines might go (called a ‘preliminary corridor’), we share it with the community to get their thoughts and feedback. This helps us fine-tune the plan before moving forward. 

This feedback is also used for a 'scoping report' for the project, which studies the project's impact on the environment. The scoping report is requiared by law as part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS process provides additional opportunities for the community to have their say in how the project is built.

Easements and easement acquisition

What is an easement? 

Once the final route and design of a transmission project is decided, it will be built on an easement.

Easements generally give someone the right to access and use land (in this case, for transmission infrastructure) while the legal title or ownership of the land remains with its owner. 

Because an easement does not grant ownership, you can generally continue using land with some restrictions to ensure public safety and reliability.

An easement is established by way of an acquisition by EnergyCo over a part of a landowner's property, to access and use that land to build and maintain transmission lines. Easements of around 70 metres wide are required.  

However, wider easements of around 100 to 200 metres wide may be required during construction for temporary work or activities like construction. If this is necessary, projects will start with a wider construction easement and end up with a narrower operation easement.  


Transmission line easement graphic

What is easement acquisition?

Easement acquisition is a standard practice to allow for construction and operation of transmission lines and other utilities.  

If your land is required for an easement, you’ll be entitled to compensation including:  

  • market value of the property required for the easement  
  • payment of reasonable fees associated with obtaining your own legal and valuation advice.

This is in line with the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (the Just Terms Act).

The same compensation applies whether the easement is acquired by mutual agreement or compulsory acquisition (see sections below).

Acquisition process overview

Easement acquisition is a common practice in Australia to allow for the construction and operation of transmission lines as well as various other utilities. When acquiring an easement, EnergyCo will seek to enter into an agreement with the landowner which will set out all the rights and obligations for both parties in relation to the ongoing use and management of the land, including payment of compensation to the landowner for granting the easement and any other required interests. 

Property acquisition in NSW is governed by the Just Terms Act. The Just Terms Act provides the procedures a government agency must follow to acquire land from a landowner, as well as the principles for determining compensation. 

The EnergyCo acquisition process for an easement is designed to provide the landowner with certainty and equity and is summarised in the ‘Steps’ sections below. 

Preference for aquisition by agreement

EnergyCo’s objective is to reach an agreement with the Landowner for the grant of a temporary Construction Easement and permanent Transmission Easement together with access rights (as required), to enable EnergyCo to facilitate the construction and operation of the required permanent infrastructure works on the land.

The agreement would include the agreed amount of compensation that EnergyCo will pay to the landowner for the grant of the temporary construction easement and permanent transmission easement, switching station land and associated access rights, if any. 

Following completion of the permanent construction works, EnergyCo will survey the required area of the permanent Transmission Easement within the Construction Easement. The documentation required to register the permanent Easement(s) on the title of the Land would then be provided to the owner to enable execution and registration of the easement(s) at Land Registry Services. 

EnergyCo’s strong preference is to complete any acquisition requirements on an agreed basis with the owner. This is known as acquisition by agreement. 

However, if an agreement is unable to be reached at the end of the minimum six-month period, EnergyCo may need to commence a compulsory acquisition process which will occur in parallel to any ongoing negotiations with the owner.

Steps in acquisition by agreement

1. Early community consultation

Early community consultation

2. Initial landowner contact

We will contact you to learn how you currently use your land as well as discussing what transmission infrastructure is potentially planned in the immediate area. We may also request access to your property for preliminary investigations to help inform our planning.

3. Face-to-face meeting

If an acquisition is identified which involves your land, we will ask to meet with you to discuss the next steps and provide information so you can better understand the acquisition process.

4. Opening letter

EnergyCo, will issue an opening letter to advise that an acquisition is required and will detail the particular interests in land which are to be acquired. This would include, as may be relevant, a Sketch Plan showing the area required for a temporary construction easement and the approximate location of the permanent transmission easement as required by EnergyCo. The letter will also contain information which explains the owner’s entitlement, under the Act, to reasonably obtain legal and valuation advice in relation to the acquisition

5. Valuation

Both EnergyCo and the owner obtain an independent valuation assessing the owner’s compensation entitlement in relation to the interests to be acquired.

6. Letter of offer

EnergyCo will issue the owner with a written offer based on its independent valuation.

7. Exchange of valuation reports

Valuation reports are exchanged between the parties

8. Reaching agreement

Meetings/discussions would occur between EnergyCo and the owner, including the independent valuers, to discuss any differences between the respective valuer’s reports with a view to reaching an agreement as to the compensation for the acquisition of the required property interests.

9. Deed of Agreement

Following an agreement between the parties, EnergyCo’s legal advisors will prepare and issue the owner’s legal advisor with a Deed of Agreement (the Deed) which confirms the necessary terms which will include:

  • 9.1. The area of the land for the Construction Easement which is to be occupied by EnergyCo on a non-exclusive basis for the purposes of construction and any project investigations and any construction easement for access (if necessary).
  • 9.2. The agreed occupation fee for the period of the temporary interests required for construction which is anticipated to be for approximately 4 years and will be paid in full upfront.
  • 9.3. The area of the land for the permanent interests that will be acquired. Following the completion of the permanent infrastructure works, a survey will be undertaken to define the land over which the permanent interests will be acquired.
  • 9.4. Initial payment representing 100% of the agreed market value compensation for the acquisition of temporary interests required for construction and 80% of the agreed market value compensation for the acquisition of any permanent interests, together with the full payment of all other agreed compensation for the acquisition will be paid within 20 business days from the date of the execution of the Deed by all required parties. The remaining 20% of market value compensation will be paid upon the completion of the acquisition of the permanent interests.

What happens if you can't reach an agreement?

If we can’t reach an agreement after the stages outlined above, EnergyCo may initiate a compulsory acquisition of the required interests in the land, e.g. the easement.

Compulsory land acquisitions are a last resort. At times it is required to allow crucial public infrastructure to proceed for the benefit of the wider community, such as schools, roads, water and electricity infrastructure projects.

Steps in compuslory acquisition

1. Proposed Acquisition Notice (PAN)

If we have been unable to reach an agreement with you after at least six months, we will send you a PAN which will provide both parties with at least 90 days’ notice to resolve the acquisition by negotiated agreement. This is known as the PAN period.

2. Negotiations continue

During the PAN period we will continue to seek to resolve the acquisition with you by negotiated agreement.

3. Property interests acquired

If an agreement cannot be reached before the PAN period expires, the required interests in land will be compulsorily acquired by the publication of an Acquisition Notice in the NSW Government Gazette. Once this Acquisition Notice is published, EnergyCo will own the required easement rights (and other required interests) on your land.

4. Valuer General determination of compensation

Following compulsory acquisition, you will become entitled to compensation in an amount to be determined by the NSW Valuer General in accordance with the Act. The Valuer General’s office will contact you directly to explain the process. Compensation is assessed on the same basis under the Act whether acquisition is by agreement or by compulsory acquisition.

5. Compensation notice

Following the Valuer General’s determination, we will send you a Compensation Notice to inform you of the amount of compensation payable for the acquisition as determined by the Valuer General.

6. If you accept the compensation

If you accept the Valuer General’s determination, then payment will be made promptly following your return of the required executed documents to EnergyCo.

7. If you disagree with the compensation

If you do not accept the amount of compensation determined by the Valuer General, you must lodge an objection with the NSW Land and Environment Court within 90 days of receiving the compensation notice. If an objection is not lodged within that period, then the Valuer General’s determination is deemed to be accepted. You will be entitled to receive an advance payment of 90 percent of the amount determined by the Valuer General within 28 days of EnergyCo being notified of your objection to the Court and pending finalisation of the Court process.

Ancillary Infrastructure

In addition to the transmission lines and towers, some additional infrastructure may be required in certain locations. These generally include Energy Hubs and switching stations.

Switching stations: Switching stations are used to appropriately control the electricity at required points in the network.

In instances where a partial acquisition of land is required to host a switching station, the Deed will provide for a construction lease over the relevant land and will include a Contract for Sale which confirms the agreed terms for such partial acquisition on completion of construction. acquired. 

Energy Hubs: Energy Hubs are modern type of substation that act as connection points between renewable energy projects and the broader transmission network so it can be distributed to the homes, businesses and essential services that need it.

Where land is required for an Energy Hub, EnergyCo will complete the acquisition of the required land (after reaching an agreement with the landowner) by way of a Contract for Sale, which would confirm the agreed terms of purchase. A Deed will not be required for the acquisition of Energy Hub land.

Valuation and compensation

Just Terms Compensation Act compensation

Firstly, you are entitled to compensation under the Just Terms Act if EnergyCo acquires an interest in your land. 

While the Act includes various provisions relating to compensation, an acquisition would typically include compensation for the following: 

  • Market value of the property interests acquired
  • Payment of fees reasonably incurred with obtaining your own legal and valuation advice in relation to the acquisition. 

Your entitlement to compensation is the same whether the easement is acquired by mutual agreement or through compulsory acquisition. The value of the required property interests will be determined by a suitably qualified valuer engaged by EnergyCo. 

The valuation considers factors such as the interest to be acquired, the area of land to be affected, location, any impacted improvements, zoning and recent sales in the area. This information will be captured in a valuation report. 

We encourage you to obtain advice from an independent valuer and lawyer to help inform your decisions during the acquisition process. We will compensate you for any reasonable fees associated with these services as part of the agreement. 

We appreciate you may want to seek advice from other specialists such as accountants, town planners or surveyors. We recommend speaking to our acquisition team first to confirm if you will receive compensation for these costs.

The Strategic Benefit Payment Scheme

The Strategic Benefit Paymen Scheme (SBP) ensures that private landowners who host a part of a transmission line will be paid a set rate of $200,000 per kilometre of transmission hosted. This will be paid in annual instalments over 20 years. 

Annual SBP payments will commence, indexed to inflation over 20 years to eligible private landowners once the project is operational, or 'energised'.

Payment under this scheme is made to landowners in addition to compensation for hosting transmission infrastructure on their land in accordance with the Just Terms Act

Please visit our SBP Scheme page or ask your local community team for more details about the SBP Scheme and how instalments are paid. 

Recipients of these payments should discuss their personal tax arrangements with a tax advisor or certified accountant as their personal tax circumstances differ.


Property and Acquisition NSW

The NSW Government website that outlines the property acquisition process.

W: propertyacquisition.nsw.gov.au

E: [email protected]

P: 1300 029 146


Land and Environment Court

Reviews disputes about compulsory acquisition.

W: lec.nsw.gov.au

E:[email protected]

P: 02 9113 8200

Australian Property Institute

Provides independent information on finding a qualified valuer.


P: 1800 111 274

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Provides independent information on finding a
qualified valuer.

W: rics.org/oceania

P: 1300 737 657

NSW Law Society

Provides independent information on finding a lawyer.


P: 02 9926 0333

Australian Taxation Office

Provides advice on tax-related topics.

W: ato.gov.au

P: 13 28 65

NSW Government Gazette

Publishes official notices issued by the NSW Government, including acquisition notices.

W: legislation.nsw.gov.au/gazette

Translating and Interpreting Service

Provides interpreting services over the phone
for people who speak languages other than

W: tisnational.gov.au

P: 131 450