The NSW Government's Crown Lands Legislation White Paper,
which resulted from the Crown Lands Management Review in 2012,
makes recommendations for improvements to the management of Crown
land forming the Crown Estate in NSW. This includes the repeal of
eight or more existing Acts and the development of new and
consolidated Crown lands legislation.
The Crown Estate makes up approximately 42% of the State and
Crown land, which NSW Trade & Investment (NSWT&I) manages.
The Crown Estate includes Crown land held under lease, licence or
permit, Crown reserves, land within Crown public roads network and
unallocated Crown land. It does not include national parks or state
How this will affect you
Mine projects usually interact with some element of the Crown
Estate during their lifetime. While the reform is focused on
increasing the benefits to the community, it may also potentially
benefit businesses that seek access to, or purchase of, Crown land
as a regular part of their business. This includes explorers and
miners and water and power utilities.
Under the reforms, management of the Crown Estate may be
streamlined. Time savings are likely to result from the removal of
duplicated processes, the reduced number of government agencies
that are required to be dealt with and greater consistency in the
It is not known whether the reforms will change the government
agency that manages Crown land within mining lease footprints.
White Paper recommendations
White Paper recommendations include:
transferring management of Crown land, with primarily local
uses and values, to local councils using the same procedures that
apply to land already owned by councils. The new legislation will
be consistent with, but will not duplicate, the proposed new local
government and planning frameworks or the existing environmental
legislation. Management of other Crown land may be transferred to
other NSW Government agencies if they are best placed to manage the
land assessments before Crown land can be sold, leased,
dedicated or reserved, are to be abolished. The new planning
framework will cover pre-sale land assessment, but with the
Minister taking into account site specific relevant considerations
before approving a proposed change in use
the introduction of streamlined processes to enable Crown
landowners' consent to be given more quickly for low-impact
activities consistent with the existing land use, or where the
proposal is consistent with a consent process. They will also
enable a development application to be made under the planning
the management structure for Crown reserves will move from a
reserve trust and trust manager to a reserve manager, along with
the facilitation of greater involvement of local communities in
consultation and advisory roles.
Other recommendations for submission include proposals for:
new legislation that will include the objects of preserving
cultural heritage, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, on Crown land and
encourage Aboriginal use and co-management of Crown land
broad provisions to facilitate Crown land being used for carbon
sequestration activities, in addition to forestry rights
existing permissive occupancies to become Crown licences
separate commons legislation to be abolished
a review of the future of all travelling stock routes
administration of any roads in use by the general public to
rest with roads authorities under the Roads Act 1993,
the NSWT&I Crown Lands Division to be established as a
public trading enterprise.
Submissions to the White Paper may be made until 20 June
Reform implementation will involve a pilot with certain councils
and an extensive period of engagement before new legislation is
The new legislation will not amend the Aboriginal Land
Rights Act 1983 or any native title legislation.
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Helen
Murray to this article.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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