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The brief appearance of Statutory Declarations for Mine Subsidence Districts


If you are considering purchasing a property in the Hunter Region, it is important to determine if it is in a mine subsidence district and, if it is, whether you will be able to claim for compensation under the Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961 (the Act). In order to do this, a purchaser must apply for a section 15B Certificate from Subsidence Advisory NSW (formerly the Mine Subsidence Board). This certificate states whether the owner of the property is entitled to compensation for any damage caused by mine subsidence.

Compensation is paid when surface developments, such as a house, are damaged by mine subsidence. If the property is in a mine subsidence district, restrictions may also be imposed on development of the land. You should consider any restrictions if you intend to purchase and develop a property.

It has always been the case that an on-site inspection was required in order for Subsidence Advisory to issue the 15B Certificate. In March 2017, this was changed to require vendors to provide a Statutory Declaration, stating that the structures on the land were built in accordance with the provisions of the Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961. These Statutory Declarations seemed to be intended to replace physical inspections of the property.

As could be expected, vendors were hesitant to provide the requisite Statutory Declaration, as they would be declaring information that they may not necessarily know about their property, particularly as most people are not aware of the requirements of the Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961. More often than not, vendors would refuse to provide the Statutory Declaration, leaving Subsidence Advisory with no option other than to do a physical inspection.

Subsidence Advisory have subsequently realised that this new scheme was not being implemented successfully, and have now reverted to conducting an inspection prior to issuing the Certificate. As such, vendor Statutory Declarations are no longer required in order for a purchaser to apply for a Certificate.

If you are considering purchasing a property in the Hunter Region, and would like more information about mine subsidence, please give Jenkins Legal Services a call on 02 4929 2000 or email office@jenkinslegal.com.au.


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