Crown Land Reform
Following the passing of the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (CLM Act) in November 2016 and the Crown Land Legislation Amendment Act 2017 in May 2017, a consolidated, modern piece of legislation will govern the management of Crown land in NSW.
The CLM Act will provide Councils with a more straightforward and consistent planning and management framework, reduce duplication and the administrative burden on councils in their public land management role. When the legislation commences in 2018, it will introduce significant changes to the management of Crown land by Councils.
Specifically, Councils will manage their dedicated or reserved land as if it were public land under the Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act). Most of this land is expected to be classified as “community land” under the LG Act, meaning that councils will be required to have plans of management in place for the land. The CLM Act provides a transition period of 3 years from commencement for councils to have these plans in place.
There will remain some marked difference for the management of Crown land and the management of ‘public land’ under the LG Act as a result of additional statutory requirements provided by the CLM Act, which will be reflected in guidance provided to councils. This primarily relates to the management of native title responsibilities on Crown reserves.
The CLM Act falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Lands and Forestry, and is administered by the Department of Industry (DOI) - Crown Land and Water.
The Office of Local Government (OLG) is working collaboratively with DOI – Crown Land to ensure councils are prepared for commencement of the CLM Act. OLG is leading the development of guidance materials and training programs to support councils through the transition, which will also roll out in early 2018. A council reference group, including Local Government NSW, and representative of the range of local councils will be established to ensure this material meets the needs of councils.
DOI - Crown Land continues to be the key contact for councils on broader aspects of the reforms including: native title, the Land Negotiation Program, the Crown Reserves Improvement Fund and Crown Roads