Crown reserves are used for a wide range of public purposes such as environmental and heritage protection, recreation and sport, community halls and open space. People have the right to access and enjoy our Crown reserves, and would expect to do so without undue risk to themselves or others—including future users and the reserve itself.
Managing risk on Crown reserves is a key responsibility for Crown land managers (CLMs). Effective risk management is crucial in protecting people (staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors) from injury or death on public land; protecting the land and its natural and built assets; and providing security from financial, reputational, legal or administrative damages.
Risk areas for CLMs relate directly to the reserve purpose and its use. For example, a showground, a cemetery and a bushland reserve all have very different risks. CLMs must consider their own circumstances and identify the risk areas specific to their Crown reserve.
Typical risk areas common to most CLMs include:
The Crown reserve code of conduct (the code) outlines the standards of behaviour the department expects of CLMs. The code is aligned with broader community expectations that Crown reserves will be managed with transparency, integrity and good governance. Adopting consistent standards and behaviours will help to instil public trust and confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the Crown reserve system.
Having a risk management process in place is a significant component of demonstrating compliance with the code.
Effective risk management is a continual process. It involves systematically asking:
For some high risk activities—such as working in confined spaces, large scale events and planned major works—it is mandatory to undertake a risk assessment under other legislation such as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Conducting a risk assessment is recommended where there is:
There are a minimum of four steps in any risk assessment, which must be repeated periodically to ensure effectiveness: identifying risk, assessing risk, controlling risk and reviewing the controls.
Controlling risk involves identifying and implementing all reasonable achievable solutions for the elimination or minimisation of a risk, within available resources.
When considering risk control options for health and safety hazards, one or more of the following strategies should be implemented, listed from the highest level of effectiveness and reliability to the lowest level:
Throughout the risk management process it is important to record your assessment and the actions taken. A completed risk assessment will inform everyday business decisions and assist in communicating with internal and external stakeholders.
CLMs are encouraged to use the Risk assessment template
Examples of hazards common to many Crown reserves—not an exhaustive list
Health and safety
Events / venue hire
Environment and land
|Assets – building and other|
People – staff, volunteers, contractors, visitors
The department provides non-council CLMs with the use of a Risk Register accessible via the Reserve Portal.
This Risk Register supports CLMs in managing risk by providing a framework to assess potential risks and actual risks occurring on reserves. CLMs are encouraged to proactively assess risks and use the register.
The register also allows the department to monitor identified risks and aid land managers, as required.
Watch a demonstration on how to use the Risk Register.
This Crown land manager web resource was printed on 30 May 2023. The information contained in this web resource is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing May 2023. 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 2023.
Page link: https://reservemanager.crownland.nsw.gov.au/using-crown-reserves/risk-management