Frequently asked questions

What is a Crown lease?

A lease of Crown land enables the exclusive use of a particular piece of land for a specified term and purpose. Generally, leases are sought over Crown land where longer-term security of tenure is an important factor to the user of the land - such as where commercial uses are proposed and major financial outlay is required. Examples include extensive agricultural initiatives, long-term extractive industries, irrigation, commercial and trading purposes, marina sites and caravan parks.

All Crown land leases are now issued for specified terms and are recorded on the title of that land. Unless the terms of the lease specify otherwise, there is no inherent right of purchase of the leased land.

How are leases granted?

Leases may be granted by public tender, invitations for expressions of interest or direct negotiation.

A Crown land lease may also be transferred or assigned to another party with the consent of the Minister responsible for administering the Crown Lands Act 1989.

How do I obtain a lease of Crown land?

If the department considers that leasing is an appropriate option for the use of the Crown land, and direct negotiation lease negotiations are justifiable, an invitation to negotiate or application to lease may be extended, which may include a proponent completing the appropriate application form and lodging it with the required deposit.

Leases of Crown land are subject to a transparent and publicly competitive process. Applications for a direct negotiation lease over Crown land are not encouraged, without the proposal being first considered by the department. All applications for leases of Crown land are considered on their individual merits and, until approved, no guarantees can be given that an application will ultimately be successful.

How are rents calculated?

Annual rent payments on any new leases are assessed on the basis of market value. Rents are reviewed at regular intervals and are generally subject to annual Consumer Price Index (CPI)** adjustments. In addition to annual rent, extractive industry leases (e.g. quarries and dredging of sand and gravel from waterways) may also be subject to royalties, based on the quantity of material removed.

Rebates from market rent may be granted in certain circumstances where tenure holders are eligible for concessions (e.g. eligible pensioners, charitable or non-profit community service, sporting or recreational organisations), however, no rent will be below the minimum charge.

** The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in the prices paid by consumers for consumer goods and services.

What happens when a lease application is lodged?

Applications for leases may require any of the following actions to be undertaken:

  • site inspection
  • compliance with government and departmental policies
  • land assessment
  • native title issues
  • referencing other authorities
  • addressing zoning and planning issues
  • development consents
  • advertising
  • valuation of market rents
  • negotiating and setting lease conditions
  • survey and creation of title

Payment for the costs of these activities is borne by the applicant. A security deposit may also be required to ensure compliance with the conditions of the lease. Under no circumstances should any use, occupation, development or construction work begin until the lease has been granted and any necessary development consent obtained.