The Local Government Act establishes a framework for the management of certain land under ownership or under a council's care, control and management. This framework aims to protect the interests of the community in council land through a "community land" classification system, and to build community consensus about the future management and use of such land.
The Act provides for the classification of local government land as "community land", processes for the removal of land from classification, a requirement for public consultation in specific instances, the ongoing protection of certain community lands, and the development of land management plans.
Frequently asked questions about community land:
At the commencement of the Local Government Act on 1 January 2000 all land - other than roads - owned or under council’s care, control and management was classified as “community land”.
Classification only affects the way in which a council can manage and use the land under the Act. It does not affect ownership, tenure, development, or zoning. For as long as it remains classified as community land, the land cannot be sold by the council and must be managed in accordance with the Act.
Classification as community land does not prevent the land from being used for business or commercial purposes. The Act allows a council to approve the use of community land for such purposes provided that the use has been authorised in an approved management plan for the land.
Land acquired by a Council is classified as community land unless the council specifically resolves to exclude the land from classification prior to taking possession or control of the land.
Removal of land from classification does not prevent a council from making a resolution to re-classify the land as community land at some later date. A notice must be placed in the Government Gazette of any such resolution.
The community's interest in community land is protected in a number of ways. Community land cannot be sold or disposed of, unless the classification of community land is first removed by a revocation process.
If community land is:
- to be occupied under a lease or licence; or
- specifically modified or adapted for the benefit or enjoyment of the community; or
- held under an "instrument of trust"; or
- is one of the reserves listed in Schedule 8 of the Act, or in another Act
then the council must prepare and adopt a management plan for the land and the land and the land must be managed in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and the adopted management plans.
A council may lease or licence community land for any purpose authorised by the management plan for the land. This may include leasing for business or commercial purposes, for example, to a private caravan park or tourism operator.
The revocation process, the preparation of a management plan, and in most cases, the leasing of community land requires a council to consult with its community before it carries out the activity. Details of your council's public consultation policy can be accessed through its website, or by contacting the council's head office. Read more about Public Consultation/Schedule of Requirements...
The Act also provides specific protection to land of particular significance, for example, the Adelaide Parklands, by prohibiting the revocation of its community land classification. (These lands are set out in Schedule 8 or the Act).
Under section 194 of the Act, before a council revokes the classification of community land it must prepare a report on the proposal and follow the steps set out in its public consultation policy.
The report, which is to be made available during the public consultation phase, must contain:
A summary of the reasons for the proposal to revoke the classification of community land;
A statement of any dedication, reservation or trust to which the land is subject;
A statement of whether revocation of the classification is proposed with a view to sale or disposal of the land and, if so, details of any Government assistance given to acquire the land and a statement of how the council proposes to use the proceeds;
An assessment of how implementation of the proposal would affect the area and the local community; and
if the council is not the owner of the land – a statement of any requirements made by the owner as a condition of approving the proposed revocation.
The revocation of a classification of community land cannot occur unless the Minister for State/Local Government Relations approves the proposal and, if the land is not owned by the council, the owner of the land.
Councils must consult with their communities about their intention to revoke the community land classification of any land in accordance the provisions of the Local Government Act and a Council's public consultation policy.
All councils must have a public consultation policy that sets out the steps to be followed when consulting with the public on this matter.
The consultation policy must provide for publication in a newspaper circulating within the council area of a notice of the proposal and invite interested persons to make submissions on the proposal within a period of at least 21 days.
The council must consider any submissions made.
5) What does the Minister for State/Local Government Relations take into consideration when determining whether or not to approve the revocation of a community land classification?
The following are some of the matters that the Minister for State/Local Government Relations may take into account in determining whether or not to approve the revocation of a community land classification.
- Whether the land falls within any of the restraints that prevent the revocation from occurring;
Whether a report on the proposal was prepared containing the information mentioned above, and whether the report was made available to the public as part of the council’s public consultation process;
Whether the public notice placed in the local newspaper advising of the proposal provided for at least a 21 day period (the minimum required by the Act) for the community to make written representations to the Council;
If submissions were made to the council as a result of the public consultation process, whether the necessary report to the Minister on all submissions made has been provided; and
if the land is under the council’s care, control and management but not its ownership, evidence that the land owner has approved the revocation of the classification.
The council’s reasons for the proposal and its assessment of how it would affect the area and the local community;
The reasons given by any public submissions that may oppose the revocation;
The relationship of the proposal, if any, to Government strategic planning for open or recreational land in the area or region (for example, whether the land is linked with the Government’s Metropolitan Open Space System (MOSS) network);
In cases where State Government financial assistance was given to acquire the land and the council intends to dispose of it following the revocation, whether the council has resolved to use the sale proceeds for the acquisition or development of other land for public or community use or the provision of community facilities. (Under section 201, if the council has not so resolved, the Minister may, as a condition of approving revocation of the land to be sold, require the council to pay to the Crown or apply, for a purpose specified by the Minister, a proportion of the proceeds related to the proportion of the original financial assistance.)
Under section 196 of the Act, a council is required to prepare and adopt a management plan for specified (not all) community land. Management plans are required for:
Community land to be held for the benefit of the community specified under Schedule 8 of the Act, under a special of Act of Parliament, or under an instrument of trust;
Community land that is, or is to be, occupied under a lease or licence;
Community land that has been, or is to be, specifically modified or adapted for the benefit or enjoyment of the community.
A management plan can apply to a single land holding or to a number of separate holdings. It must contain the following information:
The identity of the land;
The purpose for which the land is held;
The Council’s objectives, policies (if any) and proposals for the management of the land;
Performance targets for the land’s management and how the council will measure its performance against its objectives and targets; and
If the land is not owned by the council, any provisions that the owner reasonably requires.
Management plans should (as far as practicable) be consistent with other relevant official plans and policies about conservation, development and use of the land.
Public consultation requirements apply to the preparation and adoption of management plans, and for amending or revoking management plans.
Under section 202 of the Act, a council may grant a lease or licence or renew a term over community land for any purpose for a term not exceeding 21 years, provided such a lease or licence is consistent with the management plan for the land.
Before a council grants a lease or licence over community land, it must carry out public consultation in accordance with its public consultation policy. However, public consultation is not required if the proposed lease or licence is authorised in an approved management plan and the term of the lease or licence is five years or less, or it is excluded from this requirement by regulation.
Under section 207 of the Act, a council is required to keep a register of all of its community land. The register must contain details about the land, any leases or licences over the land, the owner of the land (if it is not the council) and include a copy of the management plan (if any).
The register must be made available to the public for inspection without charge. An extract from the register can be purchased from the council. Some councils may have the register available on the council's website.