Open navigation

About the Retaining Shacks project

Applying for longer tenure for a Crown land shack

Making upgrades

Shacks in national parks

Seeking assistance

About the Retaining Shacks project

Which shacks does the Retaining Shacks commitment apply to?

The Retaining Shacks commitment applies to shacks located on Crown land or in national parks that are on life-tenure or fixed-term tenure leases for ‘holiday accommodation purposes’ where there is no existing arrangement for the long-term tenure for those sites.

It does not apply to shack sites that have previously been granted a freeholding deed from a previous assessment or freehold title and that may have requirements arising under a Land Management Agreement.

It does not apply retrospectively to leases that have been terminated or shacks that have already been demolished. 

What progress has been made?

Since the SA Government announced the Retaining Shacks commitment in April 2018:

  • A moratorium has been placed on the automatic termination of shack leases upon the death of the last leaseholder named on the lease.
  • All pending revaluations of shack sites have been put on hold.
  • Targeted consultation has been undertaken with key stakeholders such as shack owners’ associations, local councils, government agencies and other relevant organisations.
  • An extensive review has been undertaken of the legislation, regulations, policies, plans, standards and commitments governing:
    • shacks on Crown land
    • shacks in national parks
    • co-management of Innes and Coorong national parks
    • Native Title
    • contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards
    • planning and development requirements (and reforms).
  • Feedback was sought on a Preliminary Discussion Paper, which outlined the work undertaken to progress the commitment, the legal barriers that needed to be addressed, the regulatory requirements that needed to be complied with, and the contemporary standards that needed to be met.
  • Legal barriers have been addressed, namely amending the Crown Land Management Act 2009, to formally allow longer tenure for shack leases on Crown land.
  • Proposed amendments have been made to relevant park management plans, which, if endorsed, would formally allow greater tenure for shack leases in national parks.
  • A three-month public consultation was undertaken on the proposed amendments to the relevant park management plans.
  • ‘Registration of Interest’ packages were issued to all Crown land shack leaseholders (or nominees) to identify who was interested in pursuing longer tenure.
  • Application Packs have been distributed to Crown land shack leaseholders who expressed an interest in applying for longer tenure.

Applying for longer tenure for a Crown land shack

Is it compulsory to apply for longer tenure?

There is no obligation to apply for longer tenure – it is entirely voluntary.

Lessees who are not interested in applying for longer tenure can remain on their current life-tenure shack arrangement.

This means the existing lease conditions will continue to apply. Names on the lease cannot be changed and when the last remaining leaseholder dies the site is required to be cleared and the lease surrendered to the Minister for Environment and Water.

If I want to apply for longer tenure, can I add or change names on the lease?

If you are successful in gaining a longer term lease, you can change, add or remove names on the lease, either during the application process or at a later date (such as after longer tenure has been granted. There may be a fee involved in doing so.  

Is there an opportunity to increase the size of my parcel of land?

The Retaining Shacks opportunity is not considering substantial changes to the area of shack sites.

Where existing encroachments of structures breach leased land boundaries, an assessment will be undertaken as part of the application process and remedies will need to be addressed prior to alternative tenure being issued.

What if there are personal or family disputes between people named on the current lease?

All current shack lessees must agree and sign the appropriate document before an application can progress.

Any civil disputes between parties involved with shack leases must be resolved privately. DEW is unable to intervene or mediate, and recommends seeking private legal advice if required.

These matters must be resolved before submitting an application for longer tenure. Only one application will be accepted per site.

Once I apply for the new lease is my old lease no longer valid?

Your current life tenure lease remains valid throughout the application process. It is only when a new lease agreement has been signed by all parties that the existing lease is surrendered and no longer valid.

What happens if I change my mind during the application process?

If you submit an application and then change your mind before your life tenure lease is surrendered, your application can be withdrawn.

Your existing life tenure lease will remain valid with all lessees that are registered on the existing lease.

What happens if a current lessee dies while an application for longer tenure is pending?

If a lessee dies while their application is in progress, and before the current lease can be formally surrendered, your conveyancer/solicitor will need to verify the certified death certificate as part of the verification of identity process to finalise the application.

Making upgrades

Why do I need to upgrade my shack site?

The Retaining Shacks commitment is all about giving people the opportunity to hold onto their shack sites rather than abolishing them upon the death of last person named on the lease.

But this is all based on one condition – that lessees make sure they bring their site up to contemporary living standards.

This means if your shack is non-compliant in terms of safety, amenity and environmental standards, upgrades need to be made in order to uphold your side of the agreement to be eligible to retain your shack.

Sites that already meet all the required standards will not need to make any further improvements.

Do I have to start making upgrades before I apply for longer tenure?

Upgrades do not need to be made prior to applying for longer tenure. If you are successful in gaining a 5-year lease then you must ensure you are able to achieve all the requirements within the 5-year period.

What action can I take until my application is assessed?

While your application for longer tenure is underway, lessees must continue to comply with the conditions of their current lease, including maintaining their shack and surrounding areas and paying invoiced rent fees.

Where the shack is in a shack settlement, lessees are encouraged to work with their shack owners’ association (if one exists), other lessees, the local council and relevant agencies to understand what may need to do be done to align with the relevant standards.

How long do I have to meet all the conditions outlined for my shack?

If your application for longer tenure is approved, you will be issued with a 5-year lease that comes with a lease agreement setting out the conditions you need to meet to be eligible for longer tenure.

You have 5 years to complete the works required to meet these conditions and provide evidence that they have been met.

When this is done, the Minister for Environment and Water can consider finalising longer tenure or freehold.

Who is responsible for the costs of any upgrades?

As the applicant, you are responsible for investigating and paying all costs related to shack upgrades. This includes paying for any other statutory fees required by other agencies.

If you are not the current lessee, you need to work together to determine who is responsible for any costs incurred.

Shacks in national parks

When can I apply for longer tenure for a shack in a national park?

DEW has proposed a number of amendments to relevant park management plans that would enable longer tenure for shack sites in these locations.

These proposed amendments are still being worked through.

If these amendments are approved, eligible shack lessees would be invited to express their interest in applying for longer tenure.

Lessees impacted by this process will continue to be kept up-to-date on the progress. If you have not been receiving correspondence about this process, contact the DEW Shacks Team to be added to the mailing list for future updates.

Seeking assistance

Where can I get assistance with specific questions about my application?

If you have a question about your application, it might be answered in one of these resources:

If you have read this information and still require further assistance, contact the DEW Shacks team.

Click here to view form.