Roads

Crown or ‘paper’ roads were established during the settlement of NSW and are part of the state’s public road network.

Generally, Crown public roads provide access to freehold and leasehold land where little or no subdivision has occurred since the original Crown subdivision of NSW in the early nineteenth century.

Over time, the use of some Crown roads and surrounding land has changed, which has led to a change in ownership or management of some Crown roads.

The department manages Crown roads under the Roads Act 1993 (the Roads Act) and in line with with the Administration of Crown roads policy and guideline.

As changes to the Roads Act took effect 1 July 2018, some processes for the use and management of Crown roads have changed and are summarised below.

Using Crown roads for grazing

If you have a Crown road within or next to your property that you want to use for grazing, you may consider applying for an enclosure permit or consider applying to purchase the road.

Using Crown roads for other purposes

For uses other than grazing, you may consider applying for a lease or licence.

Transferring a Crown road

For development and planning reasons, councils and other roads authorities may request the transfer of a Crown road. This can allow the road to be maintained to council construction standards, as use of the road changes over time.

There are two types of transfers administered by the department:

  • Crown road transfer initiated by the department—the department will consult with council before a Crown road is transferred, with each proposed transfer considered on a case-by-case basis.

The department has established criteria for determining whether a Crown road is suitable for transfer to council. Read the transfer criteria for more information.

Purchasing Crown roads

The department recognises that many Crown roads within the public road network are not required to maintain public access. In these cases, Crown roads may be sold or closed without compromising the broader public interest.

For more information read the:

To apply to purchase a road, please complete the Crown road purchase application form and review the steps in the statutory process timeframes which explains the time it takes to process applications.

Online search for public roads proposed for sale

To make consultation for the roads program easier, the department has developed an online search facility. This will help you view and search current notices for public roads that are proposed to be closed and/or sold.

These notices will continue to be published in local newspapers. The notices will remain available online for the full 28-day submission period, from date of publication.

Main features of the search facility

The search facility provides both map-based and keyword searches to find roads that are offered for sale and closure. It allows you to:

  • use keywords to filter the search to a specific area such as local government area or locality
  • view information on the roads that are proposed for closure and/or sold, including maps showing the roads offered
  • access information on how to make a submission
  • and print full details of the road advertisement and supporting maps.

Using the search facility

To make searching easier, we've developed some guides to help.

Search for public roads advertised for closure

Closing Crown roads

Reasons for closing a Crown road may include

  • adding to a Crown reserve or tenure
  • risk to the public or environment
  • facilitating a strategic sale under the Crown Land Management Act 2016.

If you wish to close a Crown road, email your enquiry to roads.newcastle@crownland.nsw.gov.au.

Road works on Crown roads

The department is not a road construction authority and we do not undertake road construction or maintenance activities on Crown roads.

The department may allow a road user to undertake small-scale works on certain Crown roads. If you have an enquiry about undertaking small-scale road works on a Crown road, you will need to submit a Road works enquiry form.

Road works on Crown roads generally fall into two categories:

  • maintenance of a road in use for access (to deal with general wear and tear)
  • road works to establish access along an unformed road.

If large-scale construction must be carried out, the department will consider whether transfer of the road to council is more suitable, so construction can be administered according to standards specified by local council as the roads authority.

For enquiries about the maintenance or construction of council roads, contact the relevant local council.

Council roads

The department can only administer the closure of Crown roads. Local councils are responsible for the closure of council roads within their local government area.

The department also closes dedicated public roads in the western lands of NSW in the unincorporated area.

All enquiries to close and/or purchase a council road should be directed to local council.

For more information read our:

To support councils through these amendments to the Roads Act 1993 we have prepared an information pack. To request a pack email council.roadclosures@crownland.nsw.gov.au.

Enclosure permits

If you have a Crown road within or next to your property and you want to fence it within your land for grazing purposes, you will need an enclosure permit.

The enclosure permit lets you graze the land but does not give you exclusive possession or ownership of the Crown road. You’ll still need to keep the Crown road available for access.

The department issues enclosure permits to individuals and businesses that have Crown roads within their property and want to avoid fencing the road out.

You will need to pay an annual rent to the department for the use of the land. Read our Enclosure permit FAQs for more details.

Application forms