Land negotiation

We’ve partnered with the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) and local councils to implement the Land Negotiation Program (the program) in response to recommendations from the Crown Lands Management Review in 2014.

The program aims to ensure that land within the NSW Crown Estate is held by the most appropriate landholder so that the people of NSW can gain social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits. It is also important to retain land of state significance for future generations.

More information on the Land Negation Program:

Review of the program

From November 2019, an independent review of the Land Negotiation Program will start to ensure the program is operating effectively and to identify any potential improvements to its design.

Current program negotiations will be placed on hold so the review can be completed.

Program partners and key stakeholders will have opportunities to inform the independent review of the program through direct communication with the external expert conducting the review.

The community will also have the opportunity to provide input into the independent review of the program.

More information on the review and how to provide your feedback.

Aboriginal Land Agreements

The program uses Aboriginal Land Agreements (ALA) under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALR Act) to recognise the importance of land to Aboriginal people.

Our partnership with the NSW Aboriginal Land Council includes the development of the Aboriginal Land Agreement Negotiation Framework (2016) to ensure that ALA negotiations are fair and likely to succeed in the shared objectives of:

  • speeding the processing of Aboriginal Land Claims (ALCs)
  • providing more sustainable social, cultural and economic outcomes for LALCs and Aboriginal communities from the return of land
  • providing greater certainty to all parties over Crown land.

Note: Aboriginal Land Agreements do not replace the existing Aboriginal Land Claims process.  ALCs continue to be processed on an individual basis against criteria specified under Section 36 of ALR Act. ALAs are a new mechanism based on negotiations that have the potential to allow for the settlement of multiple ALCs.

Vesting Crown land in local councils

The NSW Government recognises the benefits that local ownership and management of Crown land can bring to local communities. To make this a real opportunity for local communities, the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (the CLM Act) provides for suitable Crown land of local significance to be transferred to local councils. The process to make this happen is the program.

For more information about the vesting process read:

Status of negotiations

The program commenced in 2016 in three local government areas (LGAs) with the respective LALCs and local councils. In 2017, the program was expanded. Negotiations are currently taking place in Tamworth, Northern Beaches Randwick, Central Coast, Hilltops, Orange, Cabonne Shire, Blayney Shire and Lismore LGAs.

Current program negotiations will be placed on hold so the review can be completed.

How the program works

Voluntary negotiations are held between the NSW Government (represented by the Department of Industry), the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, LALCs, and local councils to consider Crown land in a given area and explore which party may be best placed to own that land in recognition of their interests in it.

There are four stages to the program:

Land negotiation stages program: preliminary, assessment, negotiation and post negotiation

  1. Preliminary—agreement to participate is sought from all parties. Includes scoping work and access to Crown land data through LandsLink.
  2. Assessment—each party undertakes a thorough assessment of the Crown land they are interested in owning and managing within consideration of the state land criteria, and for local councils, the local land criteria.
  3. Negotiation—an interest based negotiation where parties determine who is best placed to own and manage Crown land for optimal local and state benefits. Parties negotiate through an independently facilitated process to achieve agreement.
  4. Post negotiation—when agreement is reached it is formalised using ALAs or local land agreements (LLAs).