Western Lands

Western Division

The Western Division covers more than 32 million hectares, almost half of NSW. The eastern boundary of the division runs from Mungindi on the Queensland border to the Murray River near Balranald. The majority of this area is Crown land, which is primarily used for grazing or agriculture; however, there are also leases held for residence or business.

Working closely with the community and local government, the department administers leases, implements sustainable land management activities and programs, and maximises opportunities for land diversification and regional development.

Western Lands Advisory Committee

A representative stakeholder group, the Western Lands Advisory Council, assists the department to engage with its main Western Division stakeholders on a range of Crown land initiatives. It is important that this role is not lost when the CLM Act commences on 1 July 2018.

Recognising this, from 1 July 2018 a new Western Lands Advisory Committee will be formed. The Western Lands Advisory Committee will continue the role of the current Western Lands Advisory Council.

The current members of the advisory council will become part of the Western Lands Advisory Committee, for the duration of their current terms.

Western Division of NSW map

Download our fact sheet for more information on how the department promotes a sustainable and prosperous Western Division.

Border Fence Maintenance Board

The Western Lands Commissioner is chair of the Border Fence Maintenance Board, which maintains the 600 kilometre dog-proof fence along parts of the Queensland and South Australian borders.

Border Fence Maintenance Board rates are payable on all properties in the Western Division that are comprised of more than 1,000 hectares, including freehold and leasehold lands.

The department collects rates and provides debt management on behalf of the board.

Western Lands Leases

Nearly all the land in the Western Division is held under Western Lands Leases granted under the Western Lands Act 1901. This legislation will be replaced by the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (the Act) later this year.

The 6,600 Western Lands Leases in NSW, include:

  • 4,300 for grazing
  • 573 for agriculture
  • 1,593 for residence
  • 165 for businesses

These figures are subject to change as leases are purchased and converted to freehold title. In addition, the department oversees 16 Crown Reserves leases, 173 Crown and irrigation area leases, and 816 licences to occupy Crown land.

Purchasing your lease

Leases are bought and sold in the same way as freehold property. However, when people 'buy' leases they are in fact only buying the improvements on the leased land and the right to lease the land from the state.

New Crown land legislation has come into force this year allowing eligible leaseholders to purchase their Western Lands Lease. A series of information sessions were held around the state to provide more information to leaseholders, such as the eligibility criteria, application and assessment process, plus price and payment options.

Information sessions were held at Lightning Ridge, Coomealla, Balranald, Hillston and Cobar during February and March.

Changes to the leasing legislation

The new Act allows eligible Western Lands Leases to be purchased, which will convert the title to freehold.

Some leaseholders in the Western Division have been able to purchase their Western Lands Lease for some time; these include urban leases for business and residential purposes and a number of agricultural leases.

The new Act provides a new opportunity for grazing leaseholders in the Western Division.

Leaseholders who currently hold purchase rights continue to be able to apply to purchase their lease under the Act.

The Act includes criteria to guide the department’s assessment of all applications to purchase a lease.

The Purchasing Crown leasehold land to obtain freehold title policy and guideline provides a framework for assessing and determining applications to purchase a lease.

For lessees wanting to lodge an objection to the purchase price when purchasing Crown leasehold land, a policy and guideline is available.

More information

Forms and fact sheets