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Grant and release of easements on Crown land

Easements generally give someone the right to access and use land while the legal title or ownership of the land remains with its owner. An easement does not grant ownership of the land.

For Crown land, this means that a range of third parties can use the land for a variety of activities, while the State of New South Wales continues to own the land.

Easements are generally used to secure rights of access and rights for use of the land for utilities and infrastructure such as electricity lines, water supply pipes, sewer pipes, bridges, drainage, and walking paths.

Easements under the Crown Land Management Act 2016

The Crown Land Management Act 2016 (the CLM Act) permits the minister responsible for the Act to grant and release easements over Crown land for a range of purposes.

Under the CLM Act, the minister can grant easements over Crown land on any terms and conditions that the minister thinks appropriate. This includes terms and conditions for the compensation payable to the Crown. The minister must also be satisfied that it is in the public interest to grant the easement.

Before granting the easement, the minister must consult any land managers, and any tenure holders who have a right to occupy, use and administer the land.

The applicant – at their own cost – is responsible for providing all documentation and services needed for establishing the easement.

The granting of the easement must be consistent with the Objects and Principles of the CLM Act. The minister must ensure that:

  • the proposed easement is in the public interest, and can generate social, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits for community of NSW
  • granting the easement does not affect the ongoing use of the land and any adjoining Crown lands
  • the proposal meets the relevant provisions of the Native Title Act 1993
  • the proposal meets the relevant provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, if the land is subject to an undetermined Aboriginal Land Claim
  • all other parties with an interest in the land are consulted.

The criteria above must be addressed and evidenced at the time of application.

For more information, view the Grant and release of easement fact sheet (PDF, 383 KB).

For applications relating to large-scale projects that require easement over multiple Crown land lots, sections of Crown road and Crown waterways, email [email protected] for detailed advice on submitting the application.