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Changes to Crown land legislation

The NSW Government is working to improve management of the state’s vast Crown land by implementing consolidated, modern and new legislation in 2018.

The Crown Land Management Act 2016 (the Act) implements reforms identified through the comprehensive review of Crown land management and follows over four years of engagement with the community on the future of Crown land.

The new framework will ensure that the Crown Estate continues to support and generate significant social, environmental and cultural benefits to the people of NSW. Complexity and duplication will be reduced and community involvement in Crown land improved.

The new legislation

When the Act comes into effect in 2018 it will:

  • reduce red tape and improve certainty and clarity about legal requirements
  • ensure decision making around Crown land encompasses environmental, social, cultural heritage and economic considerations
  • facilitate enhanced community engagement in decisions about Crown land
  • recognise and facilitate Aboriginal involvement in the management of Crown land, including recognition of Aboriginal land rights, native title rights and interests and the spiritual, social, cultural and economic importance of Crown land to Aboriginal people
  • streamline management arrangements for Crown reserves and improve governance whilst continuing to strengthen community involvement
  • allow local councils to manage Crown land consistently with land owned by councils
  • boost compliance and enforcement powers to protect and address issues on Crown land
  • encourage economic growth in the Western Division of NSW by converting leases to freehold and allowing more activities on leased land
  • improve equity through consistency in tenures and rents and standardising lease and licence arrangements
  • support social and community use of Crown land through access to rebates and waivers of rent
  • require an overarching strategy for Crown land.

Work is underway on key projects to support the transition to the new legislation in 2018. The fact sheets below provide further information. Updates on the transition are regularly communicated to key stakeholders and the community.

In the meantime, all current legislation remains in place. Crown land continues to be administered in accordance with existing legislation until such time as the new legislation commences. Notice will be provided in due course regarding the commencement date for the new legislation.

The path to new legislation

2012-13 - The NSW Government conducted the first major review of Crown land in more than 25 years. The independent review recommended a number of reforms, including replacing the eight existing acts with one new piece of contemporary legislation, and a response to the review was provided by the NSW Government.

2014 - a proposal to amend legislation is released in the Crown Lands Legislation White Paper and the community had their say about what’s important to help build, manage and protect Crown land.

2015 - the NSW Government responded with a summary of issues and next steps in the NSW Government response to the Crown Lands Legislation White Paper 2015.

2016 – Parliamentary Inquiry into Crown land allows community views on Crown land management to be incorporated into the new legislation.  NSW Parliament passes the Crown Land Management Act 2016 to deliver modern, streamlined and transparent management of the state’s vast Crown lands.

2017 - NSW Parliament passes the Crown Land Legislation Amendment Act 2017 to make changes required to certain legislation that deal with Crown land as a consequence of the  Act and to update provisions for Crown roads.

2017 - Exhibition of the Draft Crown land Management Regulation 2017 setting out draft principles and rules proposed to govern conduct of the users and managers of Crown land. Exhibition of a Draft Community Engagement Strategy setting out a new approach to engaging about Crown land.

2018 - the new Act will commence

The new Crown Land Management Act 2016

The new framework consolidates seven pieces of legislation into one clear piece of legislation that will deliver modern, streamlined and transparent management of the state’s vast Crown lands.

A Draft Crown Land Management Regulation and Draft Community Engagement Strategy have also been developed and undergone consultation with the community and stakeholders. Both documents will be finalised and endorsed to support the implementation of the new legislation in 2018.

After consultation in early 2017, it was determined that commons in NSW will continue to be administered under the Commons Management Act 1989. A report summarising the submissions received and the key issues raised is available Approach to commons: report on stakeholder submissions (PDF, 1092.99 KB).

Engaging with the community

The community uses and benefits from Crown land, so it’s important for you to be involved in making the decisions on how land is enjoyed and managed. The department has developed a Community Engagement Strategy that will ensure decisions about Crown land you use and enjoy will be made in an open and transparent way.

The strategy will support the new Crown Land Management Act 2016 by setting out engagement requirements for certain dealings under the Act. Community needs vary and the strategy will allow for a range of engagement approaches to ensure community views are understood before important decisions are made.

The draft Community Engagement Strategy was on exhibition from 16 October to 10 December 2017.

Supporting documents

Stakeholder updates

Community engagement

Managing Crown land

Protecting cultural values

Crown land tenures