A Crown licence may be issued to a person or organisation for a specific purpose over a specific area of Crown land.

A licence is a non-exclusive right to the land and members of the public cannot be excluded from licensed Crown land.

Licence purposes may include:

  • conservation
  • grazing
  • agriculture
  • coastal protection works
  • jetties and pontoons
  • boat ramps
  • pipelines
  • houseboat mooring
  • retaining walls
  • access
  • bee keeping

A Crown land licence agreement will specify the:

  • licensee
  • licence area - Crown land description
  • purpose
  • rent - usually subject to an annual licence fee
  • term of the licence - usually 12 months
  • terms and conditions applying to the purpose or type of licence being granted
  • details of the freehold land parcel the licence is associated with or tied, if applicable.

Applying for a licence

To apply for a licence, you will need to complete the application form and pay the application fee.
Before any licence is issued, applications are assessed to determine if a licence is the appropriate tenure and the application criteria has been met.

Find out more about how we assess applications.

Fees and charges

A licence is subject to an application fee and an annual fee. The annual fee or rent is reviewed on a yearly basis.

Transferring, amending or surrendering a licence

Most Crown land licences are transferable or may be amended, subject to approval.

To request a transfer or amendment, you will need to complete an license application form.

Some licences to occupy Crown land are associated with or connected to privately owned land. When the private land is sold, the associated licence will need to be transferred with the land.

If you are buying or selling private land with an associated Crown land licence, you should contact the department to determine if the licence is transferable and to ensure that the transfer will occur when the main property is sold.

Stamp duty may be payable to RevenueSA when a property involving a licence is transferred. Your conveyancer will advise and attend to this. If you are not engaging a conveyancer please refer to the RevenueSA website for further information.

If the licence transfer is approved, a copy of the updated licence will be sent to the new licensee. It is recommended you keep a copy of your licence with your Certificate of Title documents. The licensee named on the document is responsible for complying with the licence conditions, including the licence fee until the transfer is completed.

It is also recommended that you advise your real estate agent and conveyancer of the Crown licence.

If you wish to surrender your licence, contact us.

Purchasing the land on your licence

If you hold a licence over Crown land you may be eligible to surrender the licence in order to purchase a title to the land, known as freeholding or a fee simple title.

You may only purchase land from a licence where significant authorised improvements have been made to the land, subject to approval.

To surrender your licence in order to purchase a title to the land, you will need to complete the application to freehold a Crown licence form.

Find out more about purchasing Crown land.


If you plan to develop or build structures on the licensed area, you will need approval from the department. Please complete an Application for consent to undertake works or development on Crown land. No payment is required for this application

You should also consider if other tenure options are available, such as purchasing the land. Where another tenure option is available, a licence may not be suitable.

Find out more about developing on Crown land

Assessing licence applications

Licence applications will be assessed by the department before approval is given.

In addition to the standard Crown land tenure assessment, there are some specific considerations for licences.

  • Applications for essential services such as pumps and pipelines are generally approved unless there is a specific impediment.
  • Applications for purposes such as boat ramps, jetties, pontoons and permanent boat moorings will be assessed on a case-by-case basis against departmental policy.
  • Applications for public events and beekeeping activities will require proof of the appropriate amount of public indemnity insurance before any permission can be given.
  • Licensing for other structures or use of the land that may restrict public use, create a potential public risk, or create the perception of private ownership are not likely to be approved. This is the case of even if you have obtained a development approval from local council.

Find out more about assessing licence applications,

Your responsibilities

Licencees must comply with licence conditions and keep the land in a satisfactory state. Where conditions are breached, or the land is found in an unacceptable condition the department will require the breach to be rectified by the licensee.

Where a licensee does not comply, the department may terminate the licence or take compliance action.