We are often asked whether a local council requires an easement for its water and sewer pipes to remain on a person’s private land and further whether council is entitled to enter upon the private land to carry out repairs and works on that infrastructure.

The Local Government Act provides the answer in respect of storm water works, sewer and water supply works.

Section 59A of the Local Government Act provides that Council is the owner of all works of water supply, sewerage and storm water drainage installed in or on land by the council, whether or not the land is owned by council.

This means that even where council’s infrastructure is located on private land, the works themselves, if installed by council, belong to council.

The works may be considered to have been installed by council even if a developer partly funded the installation and also applies to council infrastructure that was installed prior to Section 59A being legislated.

The Section of the Local Government Act, goes on to allow the council to operate, repair, replace, maintain, remove, extend, expand, connect, disconnect, improve or do any other thing to those works to ensure their efficient operation for the purpose for which they were installed.

This enables the council to both use the works for the purpose they were installed for example, to drain storm water, water supply and sewerage and also to maintain and extend or replace the works.

In effect the section means that council owns the infrastructure works despite the fact that there is no easement or other interest registered on the certificate of title of a private person’s land and allow the council to operate, repair, replace and maintain the works and no easement is required.

It is, however, normal for council with respect to new subdivisions to require easements to be registered on the title of land being created for essential services such as water, sewerage and storm water.

The result is that a landowner cannot require council to remove any such works or prevent council from exercising those powers.

If you have any property enquiries or need assistance in a property related transaction, contact us at Everingham Solomons, because Helping You is Our Business.

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