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Licences

The NSW Department of Industry - Lands & Forestry (the Department) issues licences to individuals, businesses and community organisations for a number of purposes, including:

  • waterfront structures (e.g. jetties, boat ramps and slipways). Lands below the high water mark of foreshore properties are Crown lands and occupation of such lands must be authorised - for further information please refer to our Domestic Waterfront licences page;
  • grazing of stock (excluding areas with high environmental sensitivity);
  • extraction industry operations (eg. quarries and dredging of sand and gravel from waterways);
  • agriculture and cultivation;
  • water supply and access (i.e. pumpsites and pipelines for domestic use and irrigation); and
  • short term purposes such as sporting events, minor extractive operations not covered by the Mining Act 1992 and site investigation associated with potentially acceptable development proposals.

Where substantial development involving significant capital investment is involved, a lease may be more appropriate. Licences are normally granted under private treaty arrangements when the Crown land is only suitable for use by an adjoining landowner.

Licences may also be granted through public tender, public auction or by invitation for expressions of interest. This would generally occur when the Crown land may be of interest and use to a number of parties.

Where adjoining land which benefits from a licence is sold, new licences may replace existing licences (and permissive occupancies). Lodgement of the application for the new licence, and associated fee, is the responsibility of the purchaser of the adjoining lands. See also Transferable Licences below.

Occupation, use, development or construction must not commence on Crown land until a licence has been granted for that specific purpose.

Do licences have conditions?

Yes. Licences are subject to a number of conditions, which are set out in the licence agreement. Additional special conditions may be included relative to the purpose of the licence and specific environmental outcomes.

Crown land licences:

  • are subject to payment of annual rent, which is determined on a market value basis. Rents are reviewed and reassessed at regular intervals and may also be subject to annual Consumer Price Index (CPI)** adjustments;
  • may permit the use or occupation of Crown land for either a specified or unspecified period of time;
  • are not transferable (except in specified circumstances see Transferable Licences below), but in appropriate circumstances may be revoked and a new licence granted in its place; and
  • are not recorded with the Department under the Real Property Act 1900.

Note: Local Government rates are payable on licences.

What is a Permissive Occupancy?

A permissive occupancy is a form of tenure held over Crown land authorising an occupation or use. Permissive occupancies were granted under previous legislation and are no longer issued, having been replaced by licences. A permissive occupancy cannot be transferred, but can be replaced by a new licence upon termination.

Permissive Occupancies, often referred to as POs, were not generally granted for a set term. Any person who wishes to take over the occupancy of Crown land currently authorised by a permissive occupancy (PO) would be required to obtain a licence under the Crown Lands Act 1989  (the Act) from the Department by lodging a Licence: Revocation of existing tenure and issue of new licence application.

Under the provisions of the Act, a permissive occupancy may be terminated at any time by the Minister administering the Crown Lands Act 1989.

However, permissive occupancies are generally only terminated if either the holder requests termination or the Minister terminates the PO for reasons of government policy, public requirement or if the holder has not complied with the conditions of the permissive occupancy.

Transferable Licences

With legislative amendment in 2005, a licence may be transferable:

  • if the conditions of the licence include a transfer clause, and
  • the licence specifies a parcel of land that benefits from the licence (the benefited land); and
  • the licence is transferred to the holder of the benefited land.

Where adjoining land which benefits from a transferable licence is sold, lodgement of the transfer application, and associated fee, is the responsibility of the purchaser of the adjoining land.

Note: If at any time a transferable licence is held by a person who is not the owner or holder of the benefited land, the Minister may revoke that licence without notice.

How to apply for a licence over Crown land

One of the following application forms will need to be completed in order to apply for a licence:

Each application is considered individually taking into account:

  • Departmental and other government policies;
  • land assessment requirements;
  • native title;
  • site inspection;
  • development consent
  • valuation and
  • drafting and negotiating terms and conditions.

Contact us during the purchase of properties with licences attached to obtain an application form.

All applications for licences of Crown land are considered on their individual merits and, until approved, no guarantees could be given that an application lodged will ultimately be successful.

What does a licence cost?

The fees and charges are detailed in fees and charges.

Licence rent

All licences are subject to payment of annual rent, which is determined on a market value basis and may be subject to annual CPI** adjustments, as well as full market value reviews at regular intervals not greater than three (3) years.

Rents on Domestic Waterfront licences will be determined on a precinct basis linked to statutory land values and reviewed annually.

Rebates from the market rent may be granted in certain circumstances where tenure holders fall within categories as being eligible for concessional annual rents less than market value, eg eligible pensioners, charitable or non profit community service, sporting or recreational organisations.

Licences issued for the extraction of materials for commercial purposes also attract royalty payments on the materials removed in addition to annual rent.

**Note: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in the prices paid by consumers for consumer goods and services. Refer to the Leases and Licences page for further information.

Notations on freehold title

Licences associated with a freehold property, eg a jetty or pipeline licence, are identified by a notation on the Certificate of Title of that property. This places a "flag" on the title so the licence can be easily identified in any conveyancing process of the freehold property. For further information see the Crown Notations on Freehold Title fact sheet.

 
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