A management plan is a formal document that details the strategic and/or operational (day-to-day) management of a common. It may also enable the commons trust to broaden the activities and purposes, where appropriate, for which the common can be used.
The minister administering the Commons Management Act 1989 (the CM Act) may require a commons trust to prepare a management plan. Alternatively, commons trusts can prepare their own draft management plans without the minister’s permission.
A management plan is required where any activity (generally other than pasturing and watering stock) is proposed for a common, irrespective of its size.
Where formal management plans do not exist, the use of the common by the commoners for pasturing and watering their stock is permitted by the CM Act, and management of the common generally is to be in accordance with the CM Act and the Commons Management Regulation 2018 (the CM Regulation), including any by-laws.
Commons trust board members should discuss any need or requirement for a management plan with the department.
Clause 29 of the CM Regulation sets out the minimum requirements for a management plan. In addition, a management plan should:
Smaller commons, or commons with simple uses and management practices, could prepare a simple and shorter management plan, whereas a large commons with many users or one within environmentally sensitive areas may need to prepare a more comprehensive and detailed management plan.
Commons trusts can also regulate activities on commons by adopting by-laws.
Where a commons trust has not adopted a by-law and the common has been in existence at 1 September 1991, the model by-law in Schedule 1 of the CM Regulation applies.
Commons trusts that wish to make new by-laws or amend existing ones (including the model by-law if it applies) must discuss their needs with the department. The department can also help with gaining consent from the Governor of New South Wales.
There are three options regarding the preparation of the management plan:
If the draft management plan is adopted by the minister, the commons trust must implement that plan and comply with it. The commons trust cannot allow or undertake any activities not contained within an adopted management plan. The minister may amend or revoke a management plan at any time.
All commons in existence on 1 September 1991 are governed by the transitional management plan in the CM Act, unless they have had a new management plan adopted under the CM Act.
Section 29 of the CM Regulation requires a management plan to:
Commons trust board members should discuss the requirements for a management plan with the department, which can assist with decision-making.
See Plans of management for further information on preparing plans of management which, while not strictly applicable to commons, provides helpful general assistance.
See Environmental Management for information on environmental factors that may affect the commons land. Where relevant to a particular site, these factors should be addressed in the management plan.
This Crown land manager web resource was printed on 1 Dec 2023. The information contained in this web resource is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing Dec 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/who-we-are/commons-management/management-plans-for-commons