1 October 2018 – compiled by Bev Debrincat (GSLN committee)
The new Crown Lands Management Act 2016 commenced operation on the 1st July 2018.
The Landcare and bushcare communities of Greater Sydney are concerned about the potential loss of native remnants and connections for habitat corridors and green corridors through the sale of Crown Lands. Local Councils have been put into a position where they must manage and fund the maintenance of the majority of Crown Lands in their area. Communities need to ask their local Council to provide public lists of Crown Lands now under their care and control, ask their intentions and seek full community consultation.
• The Act allows Government to shut down peaceful protests on public lands
• The Act permits the transfer of public land to other Government agencies for sale without public consultation including to its in-house real estate agents Department of Industry (see overview below) – who can then dispose of the land without the stringent requirements of the previous Crown Lands Act,
• That Local Councils will become responsible for the management of crown lands (see details of type of Land below).They will also be financially responsible for maintenance and upkeep. The cost of this transfer to local Councils is an unknown. Councils may sell off land to fund the maintenance of the Crown Land.
Several areas such as Hornsby have already seen land sold to developers.
Message from Friends of Terrys Creek 9 Aug 2018:
“Please note the attached DA that requires the removal of over 27 indigenous trees for 21 Derby Street Epping. Many are ironbark & spotted gums which are highly valuable trees for wildlife. This pocket of bushland is a valuable resource for the community, local wildlife & wildlife of the Lane Cove National Park. Apparently the land adjoining 21 Derby was Crown Land but now is part of this DA…. So how did that happen?”
And Woy Woy Bowling club sold to developers at a bargain price of $38,000 paid for 1,100 square metres of prime waterfront land – ABC News 27 August.
Hunters Hill Council at Council meeting in September 2018 – suggested looking at Figtree Park as a development opportunity.
Bushcarers and Landcarers are encouraged to pursue the followings actions to ensure public Crown Lands are protected for public benefit and the benefit of our local environment:
• Speak with their local Councillors to determine which parcels of land in their local area may be or have already been transferred to their Local Council.
• Request that their Local Council consults widely with the community about the establishment of new ‘Plans of Management’ for Crown Land in their Local areas.
• Tell their Local Councillors that they want to ensure all local crown lands are listed as community land and not operational land and so stay in public ownership. It should not be permissible that any level of Government can sell off our crown land without consulting with the community.
Thank you to Cathy Merchant RHHFFPS for the following summary of relevant Acts with regards to categorisation:
Councils have been given three years to prepare the required Plans of Management (PoM), either as specific or generic plans. These Plans must be fully compliant with the Local Government Act (LG Act) with a purpose to govern public land use and management appropriately. They are to be prepared in consultation with the community.
Division 2 of the LG Act Division 2 prescribes how community land is to be categorised by Council and the PoM has the effect of ensuring that management is appropriate for the land use categories specified under section 36 of the LG Act. These being:
(4) For the purposes of this section, land is to be categorised as one or more of the
(a) a natural area,
(b) a sportsground,
(c) a park,
(d) an area of cultural significance,
(e) general community use
(5) Land that is categorised as a natural area is to be further categorised as one or more of the following:
(f) a category prescribed by the regulations.
As well, according to the LG Act, a Council should be guided in its decision-making by principles of ecologically sustainable development which includes the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity as a fundamental consideration. Further, where a PoM is to be amended by Council during the three years of transitional arrangements, the Crown Land Management 2016 (CLM Act) provisions also apply.
Under the Crown Land Management 2016 Act (CLM Act) the principles of Crown land management are:
(a) that environmental protection principles be observed in relation to the
management and administration of Crown land, and
(b) that the natural resources of Crown land (including water, soil, flora, fauna and
scenic quality) be conserved wherever possible, and
(c) that public use and enjoyment of appropriate Crown land be encouraged, and
(d) that, where appropriate, multiple use of Crown land be encouraged, and
(e) that, where appropriate, Crown land should be used and managed in such a way
that both the land and its resources are sustained in perpetuity, and
(f) that Crown land be occupied, used, sold, leased, licensed or otherwise dealt with
in the best interests of the State consistent with the above principles.
Department of Industry (see industry.nsw.gov.au)
The department is responsible for approximately half of NSW land (valued at over $6.1 billion) and manages some of the most iconic and diverse public land through the Crown reserve system. The 35,000 Crown reserves provide many of the state’s town squares and local parks, state heritage sites, buildings, community halls, nature reserves, coastal lands, waterway corridors, sporting grounds, racetracks, showgrounds, caravan parks, camping areas, travelling stock routes, rest areas, walking tracks, commons, community and government infrastructure and facilities. Hyde Park and Bondi Beach in Sydney are two famous examples of the NSW Crown reserve system at work.
The department manages around 54,000 leases and licences enabling the use of Crown land across the state for a range of commercial, agricultural, industrial, community, residential and private uses. The department also manages the development, marketing and sale of Crown lands not required for public purposes.
The department investigates and assesses Aboriginal land claims across the state under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983. The Crown estate is managed in accordance with Commonwealth Native Title legislation.