Priorities of this Strategy

A key focus of the three-year compliance strategy is to provide education, promote self-compliance and reduce the level of non-compliant activities on Crown Land through greater awareness.  The focus safeguards the preservation of Crown land assets for use and enjoyment, our natural and built environment and ensures equitable and sustainable use and protection of public land for the NSW community now and into the future.

The Compliance Strategy delivers on the public’s right to expect competent and fair management of public land through an effective and robust compliance regime underpinned by transparency and the objects and principles of the Crown Land Management Act 2016.

We believe these priority elements recognise issues that are important to our customers, community, stakeholders and the department.

The six priority elements are found below. Select an element to find out more information.

Review of Crown waterfront tenures and occupations

Private structures and facilities on Crown waterways require a domestic waterfront licence to use and occupy Crown land. Appropriate licensing ensures that waterways are not overcrowded and private use is balanced with the public’s right to foreshore access.

The strategy intends to ensure that private and community infrastructure on waterfront public land is well placed and meets Crown land management principles. We strive to ensure an equitable approach in the management of Crown waterways across NSW and make sure that they meet contemporary planning and environmental provisions.

We will do this by undertaking:

  • a state-wide public education and awareness campaign
  • audits and inspection of waterways to accurately inform issues and compliance actions
  • to strengthen our collaborative partnerships with the broader group of government agencies associated with our department; Fisheries and Maritime, together with the Office of Local Government
  • to use compliance enforcement provisions where appropriate for unauthorised occupations and structures that do not meet our regulatory and policy requirements and where there is an adverse effect on the environment.

Tackling unauthorised activities on Crown reserves

Crown reserves are parcels of public land set aside on behalf of the community for a wide range of public purposes including environmental and heritage protection, recreation and sport, open space, community halls, special events and government services. Many of these reserves are managed by local councils or statutory Crown land managers. The remaining are managed by regionally based Crown Lands Offices that ensure they are responsibly managed and that natural resources such as water, flora and fauna and scenic beauty are conserved, while still encouraging public use and enjoyment where appropriate.

Unfortunately, reserves are often the target of various anti-social and damaging activities, illegal dumping being the most prevalent. Waste can have harmful effects. It pollutes ecosystems and waterways and can pose public health and safety risks. Illegal dumping may also lead to anti-social behaviour and crime, making our communities less safe.

To help prevent these behaviours we will:

  • inform and collaborate with the community and industry about the serious effects of illegal dumping and other prohibited activities on Crown reserves
  • identify common dumping sites and other areas frequented by unlawful activities and increase surveillance and inhibit access by installing structures where appropriate
  • provide assistance to communities through education and deterrence campaigns, which in turn can increase public awareness and change behaviours.

Engagement, partnerships and support

The public needs to understand what the department is responsible for and therefore accountable for, when administering Crown land under the Act. This knowledge should then help the community to realise our vision and purpose for NSW in our everyday operations.

We will aim to ensure that:

  • the public understands the role of the department as a regulator and has confidence in the way in which we do our work
  • the information used to inform our regulatory decisions is continued to be made publically available
  • we provide easy-to-understand and transparent information to communicate our expectations and explain our decisions.

Similarly, our Crown Land Managers are responsible for the care and control of appointed Crown reserves, numbering more than 7,800, and include local councils, community groups and corporations.

We will support them by:

  • planned involvement in field days and other informative community events
  • developing and publishing regulatory support tools for our CLM’s on the dedicated Reserves Website
  • developing, launching and promoting better pathways that the community can use to communicate and collaborate with us.

Strong and collaborative agency relationships

A contemporary regulator learns from and shares information about experiences with other regulators connecting its common activities, skills, and in some cases, common objectives. Accordingly, we will advocate for better ties with other regulatory and industry agencies. Crown Lands is but one member of a broad cluster of operational groups within the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Other divisions and government agencies within the broader department include Water, the NSW Environment Protection Authority and Office of Local Government—all working towards the common aim of ensuring responsible use and treatment of our environment.

Refer to the full Compliance Strategy to understand our objectives for driving a collaborative approach.

Enabling self regulation

Contemporary regulatory techniques encourage the use of smarter methods to help land managers responsibly monitor those groups using state property. Ensuring that our tenure holders comply with their tenure conditions is one of these responsibilities; the ‘set and forget’ approach is not acceptable. A proactive regulator and land manager will adopt practices such as self-regulatory schemes to allow tenure holders to report on their compliance with important conditions, which can then highlight any issues or minimise the need for formal regulatory intervention in many cases.

Introducing a self–regulatory environment is therefore a proactive compliance measure intended to identify and then manage higher-risk tenures within the Crown Lands portfolio. Self-regulation can also potentially lower compliance resourcing and administrative costs to the department, allowing for more time to be spent in other areas. It may also provide greater flexibility and adaptability for our lease holders, as well as leading to effective and efficient regulation and land management.

Continuing to build skills and capacity in our workforce

Crown Lands staff are instrumental in overseeing and achieving the department’s regulatory responsibilities and overall land management activities. We have a broad range of authorised officers across the state who are certified to undertake specific compliance regulatory actions and can provide support and information to our stakeholders.

We recognise that the community must have confidence that our staff are appropriately trained and adequately resourced to undertake these activities.

We will do this by:

  • supporting compliance functions with appropriate systems and methods
  • investing resources in data, analysis and monitoring practices
  • learning with others through community practice groups, networking opportunities and collaboration
  • engaging with quality assurance and review mechanisms to ensure ongoing operational consistency, competency and continuous improvement within our staff and processes
  • encouraging collaborative work methods across our state-wide organisation.