Public Land Register

Public Land Register

What is the public land register?

Council is required under Section 53 of the Local Government Act 1993 to keep a register of public lands contained within the local government area.

This document is a useful reference document for the public, Councillors and Council staff, providing an inclusive overview of all land owned or in the care and control of Council, including land under lease.

Information Contained in the Register

The register must include the following:

  • the name (if any) by which the land is known
  • the address or location of the land
  • the reference to title of the land
  • the name of the owner of the land
  • whether or not the land is Crown land
  • the classification under this part of the land
  • whether or not there is a plan of management for the land
  • the zoning (if any) of the land under an environmental planning instrument, and
  • particulars of any agreement (including any lease or licence) entered into by the council with respect to the land.

Public Land Register

What is Public Land?

The following list describes land that is not considered public land:

  • Public Roads (Regulated by Roads Act 1993)
  • Crown Lands (Regulated by Crown Lands Act 2016)
  • Commons (Regulated by Commons Management Act 1989)
  • Mechanics Institutes and School of Arts (Regulated by Trustee of School of Arts Enabling Act 1902)

All other land controlled by Council is public land regulated under s53 of the Local Government Act 1993. This land can be classified as either "community land" or "operational land" by a local environmental plan or Council resolution.

Community vs operational public land

All public land vested in a council is to be classified as either “community” or “operational”. The purpose of classification is to identify clearly that land which should be kept for use by the general public (community) and land that does not need to be restricted in its use (operational).

Classification determines the ease with which land may be sold, leased, licensed or used for other purposes.

A Plan of Management is required for community land. This is not a requirement for land classified as operational.

Community land must not be sold, except in limited circumstances referred to in s45(4) of the Local Government Act 1993.

Community land must not be leased or licensed for more than 30 years. It may only be leased or licensed for 5 - 21 years if public notice of the proposed lease or license is given and, in the event that an objection is made to the proposed lease or license, the Minister’s consent is obtained. For any term over 21 years, the Minister’s consent for the issuing of the lease must be obtained. No such restrictions apply to land classified as operational land.

Classification or reclassification of land does not affect any estate or interest a council has in land.

Community land would ordinarily comprise land such as public parks, sportsgrounds and land containing facilities such as community halls.

Operational land would ordinarily comprise land held as a temporary asset or as an investment, land which facilitates the carrying out by Council of its functions or land which may not be open to the general public, such as a works depot or a Council sewerage treatment plant.

Can the land be reclassified?

Land classified as community land can be reclassified by a local environmental plan or, in some circumstances, by Council resolution. Operational land can be reclassified by Council resolution.

The use and management of community land is to be regulated by a Plan of Management. Until a Plan of Management is adopted, the nature and use of the land must not be changed from its current land use.

How is public land used and managed?

The use and management of public land under the Local Government Act 1993 is determined by its classification as detailed above. The use and management of all public land must take into account:

  • any law permitting the use of the land for a specified purpose or otherwise regulating the use of the land
  • legislation controlling the use of public land such as Local Environmental Plans and other relevant legislation as listed below:
    • Crown Lands Act 2016
    • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
    • Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
    • Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016
    • Fisheries Management Act 1993
    • Noxious Weeds Act 1993
    • Water Management Act 2000
    • Sydney Drinking Water Catchment (SEPP)

Land that is classified as community is also required to be used and managed in accordance with a Plan of Management (PoM) applying to the land – find out more at

Maintenance of the Land Register

The register contains information that is constantly changing and evolving in line with the implementation of new legislation and ongoing property and land dealings. Council is currently reviewing the information contained in the register and will include an updated list to this page on a regular basis. A historical record of changes to the register will also be retained.

Want to know more?

In accordance with s54 of the Local Government Act 1993, any person is able to obtain further information about the classification of public land by applying for a certificate of classification using the approved form accompanied by the applicable fee. Council is then required to issue a certificate to the applicant stating the classification of the public land as at the date of the certificate. The production of the certificate is taken for all purposes to be conclusive proof of the matter certified.

For more information, contact: 

Property Development Team 


02 4732 7777