Leases, Licences & Other Estates

All council land must be classified as either “community” or “operational” land. The main effect of classification is to determine the use of the land. Operational” land has no special restrictions other than those that may apply to any piece of land. Community land is different as it reflects the importance of the land to the community because of its use or special features. Generally, it is land intended for public access and use, or where other restrictions applying to the land create some obligation to maintain public access.


The Local Government Act 1993 (Act) contains important restrictions on the ability of a council to grant leases, licences, and other estates over community land. This is coupled with requirements for public consultation to ensure that council take community views into account. The Act also outlines when a council must tender a proposed lease or licence.


The Act allows a council to grant a lease, licence or other estate for a term of up to 30 years (including any renewal terms and holdover periods) in respect of community land for:

  • the provision of public utilities (s 46(1)(a)); or
  • for the purpose of providing pipes, conduits or other connections underground for the connection of premises adjoining the community land to a facility of the council or other public utility provider (s46(1)(a1)); or
  • to allow a filming project to be carried out (s46(1)(c)); or
  • in accordance with an express authorisation in the plan of management applying to the land (s46(1)(b)) for one of the purposes listed in section 46(1)(b) of the Act, provided that purpose is consistent with the core objectives of the categorisation of the land (s46(2)).


A council must first obtain the Minister for Local Government’s consent to grant a proposed lease, licence or other estate in the following instances:

  • The proposed term (including any renewal options and holdover periods) exceeds 21 years.
  • The proposed term (including any renewal options and holdover periods) exceeds 5 years and a person makes a submission by way of an objection to the proposal during the submission period.
  • The proposed term (including any renewal options and holdover periods) is 5 years or less and the Minister has “called in” the proposed lease, licence or other estate (s47A(2)(c)) and the Minister has determined that sections 47(5)-(9) of the Act are to apply to the proposal.