Leasing of Crown Land
The Leasing Policy for Crown land in Victoria 2010 aims to ensure that leased Crown land is managed sustainably and provides maximum benefits to the community. The policy applies to leasing under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, Land Act 1958 and the Forests Act 1958.
Leasing Policy for Crown land in Victoria
The policy establishes three overarching leasing principles:
- To provide benefits to the public through leasing
- To ensure consistency and transparency in leasing
- To manage leased Crown land in an ecologically sustainable manner
Crown land leasing guidelines
The policy provides a basis for the development of more detailed guidelines on Crown land leasing. The first of the guidelines on Crown land leasing legislation, details the main statutory requirements needed to grant a lease under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, Land Act 1958 and Forests Act 1958.
The legislation guideline also provides an overview of the other key pieces of legislation that apply to leasing Crown land. They are the first in a series of guidelines being developed to address the key statutory, policy and procedural requirements associated with Crown leasing.
Crown land is public land, managed and held in trust by the Government for the benefit of the Victorian community.
In Victoria, Crown land has been set aside for a variety of uses to recognise current and future land use requirements. One third of Victoria (approximately 8 million hectares) is Crown land. Most of this land comprises national parks and state forests managed under the National Parks Act 1975 and the Forests Act 1958. The balance is reserved under the Crown Land Reserves Act 1978 or is unreserved land managed under the Land Act 1958.
Reserved Crown land is usually managed on behalf of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) by another land manager such as a committee of management appointed by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change.
Crown land that is not reserved is managed directly by DEPI. Unreserved Crown land can also be leased subject to the approval of the Minister.
DEPI is responsible for the development and implementation of policy relating to leasing of reserved and unreserved Crown land and leasing under the Forest Act 1958. Leasing must be consistent with the public purpose designation over the land and be in the public interest. The leasing of Crown land must also preserve the environmental, historic, recreation, tourism, natural resource, social and culturally significant values of the land.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat should I do if I am interested in leasing Crown land?
You will first need to determine whether the land is Crown land and, if so, whether the land is managed directly by DEPI or by another land manager. Inquiries can be made at your local DEPI office.
DEPI does not maintain a register of Crown land available for lease, however it can provide you with information that will assist you in respect to a particular parcel of Crown land.
How do I apply for a lease over Crown land?
DEPI can assist with this. If the site that you are interested in leasing is directly managed by DEPI, you should fill out a DEPI lease application form available from your local DEPI office.
If the proposed site is managed by another body such as a committee of management, you should contact the manager to request that your proposal be put forward. If the manager supports the proposal, the details will be submitted to DEPI for consideration by the Minister (or the Minister's delegate).
Before there can be an agreement or commitment to lease Crown land by another manager, the lease proposal needs to be further developed in the form of a detailed submission to the Minister (or the Minister’s delegate) for approval in principle. Once approval in principle to lease has been granted, final lease negotiations with the land manager can be completed.
What is the rental applied to leases on Crown land?
The community expects a fair return for the use of Crown land under commercial or private lease arrangements. Therefore, if the land is to be used for a commercial or private purpose, the rent will be based on market rates determined by a valuation having regard to comparable commercial rentals in the private sector. Rent is reviewed and adjusted to market rates every three years.
If the land is to be used for community purposes, a reduced rent will apply.
What length of lease term is available?
The term of the lease granted will be determined with regard for the permitted use of the Crown land. The terms and conditions of a commercial lease on Crown land will reflect practices in the private sector market.
The term granted will be dependent upon the proposed use of the land and the business case presented by the prospective lessee and lease terms are also governed by the legislation that applies to the particular Crown land in question.