Blue Mountains News

Improving the Management of Crown Lands

Source: Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 22 May 2019
Council is adapting how it manages public lands, following recent legislation changes.

Our Crown lands review will run until June 2021 and has been prompted by changes under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 and Crown Land Management Regulation 2018, which came into effect on 1 July 2018.

There will be no change to the current use of land in the Blue Mountains, but the legislation seeks to improve the governance and management of Crown land across NSW. Among other things, it authorises Councils that are appointed to manage dedicated or reserved Crown land, to plan for it as if it were public land under the Local Government Act 1993.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: "Council retains care, control and management of those Crown reserves for which Council was previously appointed Trustee. The management of other Crown recreation reserves within the City, without appointed Crown land managers, continue to devolve to Council for management."

There is a significant volume of work for all NSW councils associated with implementing this change. There are two main stages of work for Council:

  • Stage One (to be finalised by 30 June 2019) involves Crown approval following Council endorsement of the Schedule of Crown lands to be managed by Council. It will include their proposed classification and one initial categorisation.
  • Stage Two (to be completed by June 2021) involves the preparation of Plans of Management for all Crown lands managed by Council as community land, including those which devolve to Council. It is proposed to include all Council-owned public land, managed as community land, in these plans. This will provide a set of integrated management documents which comply with legislative requirements.

Council proposes 145 Crown reserves to be classified and managed as Community land. There are eight reserves which Council proposes to be classified as operational Crown land. These are bush fire brigade buildings and waste disposal sites. This means that Council can continue the current uses of the land more in keeping with the Crown land management objectives. However, unlike Council-owned operational land, Council cannot sell or trade operational Crown land.

For the Blue Mountains, additional categories will also be required for a large number of reserves as a combination of more than one category can occur on one reserve. Categories include natural area - bushland, park, sportsground and general community use.

The Crown has provided guidelines and training for Council staff and contributed $88,000 to support this work.

Council must also appoint a Native Title Manager, responsible for providing advice to Council and the Crown on all dealings with Crown land that may be affected by native title.

 
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