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Apply for or manage a licence

A licence over Crown land is a contractual agreement that grants the licencee (holder of a licence) a personal right to occupy and use Crown land for a particular purpose. The department usually grants licences through public tender or by inviting expressions of interest, unless there are circumstances that merit direct negotiation.

Features of a licence

  • You will need to pay annual rent, which the department reviews regularly
  • It will be for either a specified or unspecified period
  • You cannot transfer it, except in specified circumstances
  • It is protected by conditions outlined in the licence agreement
  • You will need to pay local government rates to your local council

Licence assessment

The department considers each licence application individually, taking into account:

  • departmental and other government policies and guidelines
  • land assessment and capability
  • Aboriginal land claims
  • native title
  • site inspection
  • development consent
  • valuation
  • drafting and negotiating terms and conditions.

Supporting documentation

Additional supporting documentation may also be required, depending on the circumstance. This may include a:

  • copy of a current company search, no less than 12 months old (mandatory where the applicant is a company)
  • Certificate of Incorporation (mandatory where the applicant is an incorporated entity)
  • copy of authorised signatories (where the applicant is an entity, excluding a company)
  • completed Land Management Strategy (mandatory where the purpose of the licence is grazing)
  • copy of death certificate, will and probate (if granted)
  • copy of an approved development application or relevant planning approval (mandatory prior to the issue of a licence where development is proposed).

Planning pathways

If your proposal involves development (i.e. use of land, erection of a building/structure, carrying out of a work or demolition) on Crown land you will need to consider and demonstrate an appropriate planning pathway is available.

Information on planning pathways can be found at the NSW Planning Portal.

If you are unsure of the planning pathway, or whether your proposal requires a development application, you can also contact your local council or engage a planning consultant for advice.

When you lodge a licence application you will need to provide:

  • a copy of any approved development consent, if required or
  • a copy of the Complying Development Certificate (CDC) if the proposal is 'complying development' or
  • if development consent is not required – confirmation that the proposal is 'exempt development' or 'development without consent' under a planning instrument.

If the proposal is 'development without consent' – you will need to provide details of the potential environmental impacts associated with undertaking the proposed development/activity on the land.


  1. Where 'development without consent', applies, Crown Lands may require additional information to be provided (for example where a formal Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is required under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979).
  2. 'Exempt development' does not require environmental assessment, but does require the proposal to meet certain pre-conditions as specified in the relevant planning instrument.
  3. All forms of development/activity must comply with due diligence requirements of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 in relation the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage – go to the Environment and Heritage Group.
  4. Where development consent is required over Crown land, the proponent will require landowners consent from Crown Lands prior to lodging the applications.

Payment methods

An application fee is required to apply for a licence. An invoice for the application fee will be sent to you once the application starts to be processed.

Most licences are also subject to payment of an annual rent, which is determined from the current market value. You will be notified of the annual rent payable after the licence application has been assessed.

View the current application fees.