Crown Lands

Our roles and responsibilities

We manage Crown land on behalf of all the people of NSW, including accelerating the realisation of Aboriginal land rights and native title in partnership with Aboriginal people.

Managing Crown land 

We have primary responsibility for Crown land through direct management of land, assets and infrastructure, property management services and the oversight of a network of professional and volunteer land managers.

The key legislation administered by Crown Lands is the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (CLM Act) and the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018.

Community engagement is is mandated under the CLM Act to ensure any decisions made about Crown land include community consultation.

Aboriginal land rights and native title in NSW

A key focus of Crown land 2031 (PDF, 3.69 MB) is to support reconciliation with Aboriginal people in NSW by brokering a greater diversity of access and use with Aboriginal land holders.

Crown land 2031 recognises the importance of Aboriginal land rights and native title interests, and supports a partnership approach with Aboriginal land holders to promote enterprise and economic development.

Indigenous art on the Port Kembla Sea Wall.

Community engagement

Group of people on Aboriginal tour

The community uses and benefits from Crown land, and must be involved in making the decisions on how land is enjoyed and managed.

A family of emus near Lightning Ridge, NSW.

This representative stakeholder group helps the department engage with its main Western Division stakeholders on a range of Crown land initiatives.

The Crown land commissioner

Under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (CLM Act), the Minister may appoint a Crown Land Commissioner to advise them on matters related to the Act and perform specified functions.

The first Commissioner, Professor Richard Bush, was appointed in 2018 to provide independent advice and facilitate the NSW Government’s transition to managing the estate under the CLM Act. He performed this role until March 2022, when he resigned to take up another appointment.

Commissioner Bush played a guiding role in the development of the first state strategic plan for Crown land in NSW, Crown land 2031 (PDF, 3.69 MB). The strategic directions set out in Crown land 2031 will provide a clear pathway for managing Crown land over the next 10 years. The department is now focusing on implementing the plan.

The Commissioner also undertook a review of CLM Act implementation. A Discussion Paper (PDF, 6.49 MB), released in February 2021, gave the community an opportunity to have their say on how the Crown estate was being managed following the commencement of the Act in 2018.

The Commissioner’s report on the evaluation of the CLM Act 2016 (PDF, 16.34 MB) was published later that year. The department is now considering the findings and will consider the recommendations as part of the 5-year statutory review of the CLM Act.

The Minister has the power under the CLM Act to appoint another commissioner should this be considered a need.