A NSW Government website

Do I need a licence or a lease?

When would I need a licence or a lease?

A licence is an authority granted by the department under the Crown Land Management Act 2016, which gives permission to occupy and use Crown land for a specified purpose and term. A licence does not provide for exclusive use and possession of the land.

Where substantial development is proposed that involves significant capital investment, a lease may be more appropriate.

A lease of Crown land gives exclusive use over a particular piece of land for a specified term and purpose. Generally, leases are sought over Crown land where longer-term security is important, such as for commercial purposes.

The department makes licence and leasing opportunities available through public competition, closed tender or, in limited cases, by direct negotiation.

Available licences

Communications licence

If you are proposing to develop, operate or have an existing communication tower or associated infrastructure on Crown land you’ll need a communications licence.

The department issues these licences to organisations for use of Crown land for communication purposes. Communication tower owners and its co-occupants are required to hold a licence.

The communications licence agreement outlines the responsibility of the licence holder over the term of the licence, from initial granting of the licence, ownership, care and maintenance, rent and payment, indemnity and insurance through to the removal of the structures.

Fact sheets with further information are available on:

In the first instance, it is strongly recommended that once a site has been identified, and prior to formally applying for a licence, proponents contact the telecommunications team to discuss the identified site and seek advice on the next steps for obtaining a licence.

Application forms

For Crown land managers

For guidance, Crown land managers should refer to:

CLMR18/01 Grant of holdings relating to communication infrastructure on Crown land (PDF, 127 KB)

Contact details

Phone: 1300 886 235

Email: [email protected]


Domestic waterfront licence

Crown land extends 3 nautical miles from the shoreline. Domestic waterfront licences are granted to property owners for the use of jetties, berthing areas, boat ramps, slipways and pontoons attached to your property that enter the waterway. 

Apply for a domestic waterfront licence

Learn more about construction and development on Crown land waterways (PDF, 123 KB)

Extractive industry licence

Extractive industry licences are issued to companies, individuals/partnerships, government agencies and councils proposing to operate a quarry to extract sand, soil or gravel from Crown lands.

Any new extractive industry licence will be offered by way of public competition by expression of interest, unless circumstances warrant entering into direct negotiations. 

Contact us to discuss an extractive industry licence

View current expressions of interest on proposed licence opportunities.


Filming, events and short-term licence

Short term licences are granted for purposes that are less than 12 months. If you are looking at more than 12 months, you may need a general licence. While licencees are permitted to use the land for the specified purpose, the land may also need to remain available for public use.

Short term licences are required to be submitted 2 months before the proposed starting date of the activity.

Short term licences are often granted but not limited to:

  • Filming
  • Photography
  • Emergency occupation
  • Functions
  • Entertainment
  • Markets
  • Sporting and recreational activities
  • maintenance of a road in use for access

View all accepted purposes for short term licences (PDF, 256 KB)

Apply for a short term licence

General licence

A general licence may be issued to individuals, businesses and community organisations for use or occupation of suitable Crown land.

A general licence is used if there are multiple purposes that the licence is needed for or where the grazing, filming, events and short-term, domestic waterfront, or other licence types are not appropriate.

General licences are commonly issued for purposes such as:

  • pump site and pipelines
  • access
  • irrigation
  • site investigations
  • structures
  • community facilities
  • storage
  • non domestic waterfront structures

Apply for a general licence

Grazing licence

Grazing licences are commonly issued to individuals, businesses and community organisations to graze livestock on suitable land.

Apply for a Grazing licence

Available leases

General lease

General leases can be issued for commercial business or community purposes including but not limited to:

  • caravan and tourist parks
  • registered clubs, bowling clubs, golf clubs and other sporting clubs
  • aged care, child care and disability services
  • restaurants and kiosks
  • government agencies and local government
  • surf lifesaving clubs, and other sporting clubs and community organisations
  • land based oyster farming activities
  • rural purposes such as grazing, agriculture and irrigation
  • marinas
  • waterfront businesses and activities.

Guidelines - allocation of Crown land leases (PDF, 594 KB).

Apply for a general lease.

Western lands lease

Western lands leases are granted over land in the western division of NSW.

The leases are issued for 

  • Grazing
  • Agriculture
  • Businesses

Conditions are attached to each Western land lease to ensure the land is managed sustainably. Most Western lands leases are issued for either a period of time - usually 40 years or indefinitely.

Apply for a Western lands lease