Legislation and policies

The key legislation administered by Crown Lands is the Crown Land Management Act 2016 and the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018.

To guide our decisions and actions in the application of this legislation, the department has developed a range of rules, policies and guidelines.

The Crown Land Management Act 2016

The Crown Land Management Act 2016(CLM Act) began on 1 July 2018. It governs how Crown land is used and managed for the benefit of the community in NSW.

The CLM Act acknowledges how important Crown land is – spiritually, culturally, socially and economically – to Aboriginal people, and recognises and facilitates Aboriginal involvement in the management of Crown land.

It strengthens community involvement by mandating community engagement and allowing the Minister for Lands and Water to appoint the independent Crown Land Commissioner.

The CLM Act allows the governance of 35,000 Crown reserves across NSW. In recognition of the role that local councils have in this governance, the CLM Act enables local councils to manage Crown land under the Local Government Act 1993.

Objects and principles

The objects of the CLM Act are to:

  • provide for the ownership, use and management of NSW Crown land
  • make the laws that apply to Crown land clear
  • ensure the department and Crown land managers consider environmental, social, cultural heritage and economic factors when making decisions about Crown land
  • ensure the people of NSW benefit from the consistent, efficient, fair and transparent management of Crown land
  • facilitate the use of Crown land by the Aboriginal people of NSW, recognising its spiritual, social, cultural and economic importance to them
  • allow the co-management of dedicated or reserved Crown land, where appropriate
  • provide for the management of Crown land, following the principles of Crown land management.

These objects and principles are applied to all aspects of the management and use of Crown land, including every tenure dealing and activity, and by all decision-makers.

Crown Land Management Regulation 2018

The Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 gives Crown land managers, tenure holders, and users of Crown land clarity, certainty and information about how we apply the CLM Act.

The pathway to our CLM Act 

The Crown Land Management Act 2016 consolidated 11 Acts into one from 1 July 2018.

The following Acts are no longer in force:

  • Crown Lands Act 1989
  • Crown Lands (Continued Tenures) Act 1989
  • Hay Irrigation Act 1902
  • Irrigation Areas (Reduction of Rents) Act
  • Murrumbidgee Irrigation Areas Occupiers Relief Act
  • Orange Show Ground Act 1897
  • Public Reserves Management Fund Act 1987
  • Trustees of Schools of Arts Enabling Act 1902
  • Wentworth Irrigation Act 1890
  • Western Lands Act 1901
  • Western Lands Amendment Act 2009


The Crown Land Management Act 2016 began on 1 July 2018. The Crown Land Management Regulation, also in force, provides more information about how to implement the CLM Act.

The Community Engagement Strategy began on 1 July 2018.

Parts of the CLM Act that enable Western land leaseholders to convert their lease to freehold came into force on 19 March 2018.

Commons in NSW continue to be administered under the Commons Management Act 1989.


The report “An approach to commons: report on stakeholder submissions” was released. This summarises the submissions received, and the key issues raised.

The Crown Land Legislation Amendment Act 2017 was passed by the Parliament of New South Wales. This changes specific legislation that deals with Crown land because of the Act, and updates provision for Crown roads.

The draft principles and rules proposed to govern the conduct of the users and managers of Crown land were exhibited in The Draft Crown land Management Regulation 2017.

A new approach to engaging with Crown land was exhibited in a Draft Community Engagement Strategy.


Community views on Crown land management were considered after a Parliamentary Inquiry.

The Crown Land Management Act 2016, was passed by the Parliament of New South Wales.


The NSW Government response to the Crown Lands Legislation White Paper 2015 contains the government's summary of issues and next steps.


The Crown Lands Legislation White Paper includes a proposal to amend legislation, and  includes community feedback about what’s important to help build, manage and protect Crown land.


The NSW Government held the first major review of Crown land in more than 25 years. The independent review recommends a number of reforms, including replacing 8 separate acts with one new piece of contemporary legislation. The NSW Government released a response to the review.