Crown reserves are used by a wide range of organisations and individuals. Any group or individual who organises activities on Crown land other than the Crown land manager is known as a user. Common examples of users include sporting clubs, service organisations, small business, schools, the local council, and individuals. From one-off activities such as a hall hire for a birthday party through to a 10-year lease on a racecourse, there is a range of different types of tenure for which Crown land managers (CLMs) are responsible under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (CLM Act).
In situations where the CLM is not organising or conducting an activity, they should not take responsibility for the risks involved, but rather enter into a suitable agreement that passes the responsibilities to the user. Granting a tenure to third parties sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the CLM and the tenure holder (organisation or individual).
Income generated through tenure is a primary form of funding for a CLM. The income can cover running costs and be invested in long-term improvements of the Crown land.
The key principles of granting tenure over Crown land are:
The requirements of entering into tenure vary depending on the type (council or non council) and category (1 or 2) of CLM.
Category 1 CLMs are authorised to issue leases and licences for a period up to 10 years (including any option to renew) without the minister’s consent. However, a requirement of the Community Engagement Strategy is that the minister is informed of leases with terms of up to 10 years, and licences for terms greater than 12 months and up to 10 years. Longer term leases and licences can be issued with the minister’s consent.
Category 2 CLMs are authorised to issue short-term licences of up to 12 months without the minister’s consent. Leases, and licences for terms longer than 12 months can be issued with the minister’s consent.
In granting a lease or licence (excluding short-term licences), non-council CLMs are encouraged to contact the department early to confirm, at a minimum:
From 1 July 2018, local councils are appointed to manage Crown reserves under the public land provisions of the Local Government Act 1993, including the granting of leases and licences.
Interim arrangements under clause 70 of the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 allow local councils to grant certain leases and licences on Crown land until either a plan of management (POM) under the Local Government Act 1993 is adopted or the Crown land is classified as operational land with the minister’s consent.
For more information on transitional provisions, visit the Council Crown Land Manager section.
Many Crown land managers have commercial lease agreements with third party user groups of NSW Crown reserves. Similar to Crown land managers, some of these commercial user groups have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Tenure holders where the Crown land manager is the lessor that are experiencing hardship are encouraged to discuss their circumstances directly with the appointed land managers.
Crown land managers are obligated to follow the NSW Government's implementation of the National Code of Conduct for Commercial Leases, that aims to support commercial tenancies that have suffered the effects on their operations as a result of COVID-19.
Further details are available on the Department’s website.
Crown land is used by the community for a wide range of activities and purposes. The Community Engagement Strategy (CES) ensures that decisions about Crown land are made in an open and transparent way, and must be complied with when issuing a lease or a licence.
As the CES is a new requirement under the CLM Act, we recommend you contact the department early in the process of establishing a tenure agreement.
This Crown land manager web resource was printed on 7 Oct 2022. The information contained in this web resource is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing Oct 2022. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information by referring to the website (www.reservemanager.nsw.gov.au).
© State of New South Wales through Department of Planning, Industry & Environment 2022.
Page link: https://reservemanager.crownland.nsw.gov.au/using-crown-reserves/leases-and-licences2