Ready set go: Crown Land Management Act commences
Local councils are responsible for managing over 7,000 Crown reserves across NSW.
On 1 July 2018 how local councils manage these reserves is set to change with the commencement of the Crown Land Management Act 2016.
With the legislation being five years in the making, this is a significant moment of reform for the local government sector.
Recapping to date
This is the latest in a series of articles about the new Act. Our earlier articles include:
/ An overview of the Act and changes in store for local councils (January 2017)
/ Land negotiation program for Crown land (September 2017)
/ How local councils should prepare for the changes including preparing new plans of management for Crown reserves (January 2018)
In this article we explain the next steps for councils in complying with the provisions in the new legislation.
Next steps for councils
Local councils should be well under way in preparing for the start of the Crown Land Management Act 2016. This includes reviewing the guidance material issued by the Office of Local Government as well as the interim schedule of Crown reserves released by the Department of Industry at the end of May for each local government area.
Local councils should also be starting to consider the classification of the land (remembering that the default position is that Crown reserves will be classified as community) as well as the initial category of the land having regard to the guidelines issued by the Office of Local Government.
Classification and categorisation process
Once the Act commences, local councils will need to confirm the classification of the Crown reserves in their local government areas and seek the consent of the Minister where the land is to be classified as operational. This process will be managed through a new online spatial portal (known as the Crown Land Manager Reserves portal). Importantly, any request must be made in the approved form and be sufficiently justified having regard to the statutory criteria (s 3.22(5) of the Act).
The next step will be to then categorise community land under the Local Government Act 1993 and notify the Minister of that land category. Again, this must be in the approved form and submitted via the portal. In assigning the category, local councils must choose one category which most closely aligns with the purpose for which the land was dedicated or reserved. The Office of Local Government has issued guidelines to assist in this process. Importantly this must occur “as soon as practicable” after commencement of the Act.
New plans of management
Once the land classification and categorisation process is complete, then councils will start to prepare the plans of management for the Crown reserves under the Local Government Act 1993. Again, the Office of Local Government will be issuing guidance material to support councils in this process.
Councils have three years (ie until 30 June 2021) to transition to the new management framework. Until then any existing plan of management for Crown land will continue with effect.
Local councils will also need to make sure the details of the Crown land are updated in its land register (maintained under section 53 of the Local Government Act 1993).
Our team includes staff who are highly experienced with the management of public land from a legal and strategy/planning perspective and can assist you with complying with the new legislation. For more information about our strategy and planning services, please contact:
For more information about the new Crown lands legislation and how this will impact on your orgainsation, please contact:
Director – Legal, Governance and Mediation
T 0421 180 881
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