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  • The NSW Land & Environment Court has confirmed that land can be said to be used for ‘public recreation’ only if it is open to the public as of right and is not a source of private profit.
  • When adopting a plan of management for land reserved under the Crown Lands Act, any uses to be permitted on the Crown reserve must be permitted under, or in connection with, the declared purpose of the Crown reserve.
  • Where an additional purpose is proposed to be adopted by a plan of management, the requirements of the Crown Lands Act must be complied with and all mandatory matters must be given ‘genuine consideration’ in an ‘active intellectual process’.

A decision of the NSW Land & Environment Court handed down on 11 May 2015 has considered what can be developed on Crown land reserved for ‘public recreation’.

Friends of King Edward Park Inc v Newcastle City Council (No 2) [2015] NSWLEC 76 provides important guidance on the following:

  • the use of Crown land reserved for ‘public recreation’;
  • the mandatory matters under the Crown Lands Act 1989 (NSW) (‘Crown Lands Act’) to be considered by the NSW Minister responsible for Crown lands (‘Minister’), for the purposes of adopting a plan of management authorising an ‘additional purpose’;
  • the power to add an additional purpose to an existing reserve by a plan of management under the Crown Lands Act; and

whether the use of land as a ‘function centre’ could be considered to be use of the land for the additional purposes of ‘conference centres’ and ‘commercial facilities that provide for public recreation’.

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