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Retaining Shacks commitment

Current review

Current life tenure leases for holiday accommodation purposes (shack leases) terminate upon the death of the last lessee on the lease.

The South Australian Government has committed to creating new opportunities for families to retain shacks on Crown land and in national parks by expanding the eligibility to maintain a lease in return for upgrading the shack to meet contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards.

A moratorium has been placed on the automatic demolition of shack sites upon the death of the last person named on the lease, and all pending revaluations of shack lease rent have been put on hold until a new policy framework is developed that will provide certainty of tenure and valuations going forward.

For further information about the progress of this new direction for shacks, read the following updates from Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs or the Overview and FAQs below:

Overview

The South Australian Government is committed to creating new opportunities for families to retain shacks that are on Crown land and in national parks.

In March 2018, the South Australian Government made a commitment to:

  • put an immediate stop to the practice of automatically terminating departmental leases when the last person named on the lease dies
  • provide certainty of tenure to families by expanding the eligibility to maintain a lease in return for upgrading the shack to meet contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards
  • investigate more freeholding of shacks located on Crown land
  • provide a renewable tenure option to shacks located within national parks
  • seek fair valuation advice for the sale of shack sites
  • strengthen links between local rangers and ‘Friends of Park’ volunteer groups and shack owners/lessees.

Which shacks does the commitment apply to?

The 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 longer tenure.

The commitment does not apply to outstanding matters from previous freeholding deeds and land management agreements. Where a lease site was previously deemed acceptable for freeholding the lessee may apply to purchase the land at market value, subject to meeting the conditions of the previous freeholding deed.

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

What’s happened so far?

Since the Retaining Shacks Project commenced in April 2018:

  • A moratorium has been placed on the automatic demolition of shack sites upon the death of the last lessee named on the lease.
  • All pending revaluations of shack sites have been put on hold.
  • Significant consultation has been undertaken with key stakeholders such as shack owners’ associations, local councils, government agencies, some Traditional Owners and other relevant organisations.
  • An extensive review has been undertaken of the legislation, regulations, policies and plans governing:
    • shacks on Crown land
    • shacks in national parks
    • co-management commitments
    • Native Title
    • planning and development requirements and reforms
    • contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards.

These investigations have identified a number of regulatory barriers that need to be addressed before a new policy framework for retaining shacks can be finalised and assessments can begin, namely:

  • A clause in the transitional provisions (governing the transition from the Crown Land Act 1929 to the current Crown Land Management Act 2009) in the Crown Land Management Act 2009 (CLM Act) prevents life tenure leases being converted to another tenure.

     The government is seeking to amend the CLM Act to enable suitable life tenure leases to be lawfully converted to another tenure.

  • Current park management plans for Coorong National Park, Innes National Park, Kellidie Bay Conservation Park and Little Dip Conservation Park do not envisage the retention of shacks within those parks.

     The government will seek to amend the relevant park management plans to enable the retention of shacks in these parks.

Investigation Report

An Investigation Report will be released shortly that will detail:

  • the current regulatory barriers and the processes begun to address them
  • other regulatory requirements and considerations to enable the retention of shacks in return for meeting contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards, and proposed ways forward.

Shack lessees and other key stakeholders will be able to provide feedback on aspects of the report.

Feedback will help shape any future policy framework so that it responds to shack lessees’ needs and recognises the interests of parties such as Traditional Owners, future co-managers of relevant parks and ‘Friends of Parks’ groups, while meeting regulatory requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for amendments to the Crown Land Management Act?

It is proposed to introduce a Bill into the South Australian Parliament in the latter part of this year to amend the CLM Act.

What is the process for amending park management plans?

The process to amend park management plans (as outlined in section 38 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972) involves:

  • placing a notice of the amendment in the Government Gazette and in a newspaper circulating throughout the state
  • inviting the public to make comments on the proposed amendment for a minimum three-month period
  • referring the plan and any public comments received to the Parks and Wilderness Council for its consideration and advice
  • forwarding the Parks and Wilderness Council’s comments and suggestions to the Minister for consideration
  • the Minister adopting the management plan, without alteration or with any alterations they think are reasonable in view of the representations that were made. 

Amendments to individual park management plans will be progressed separately, as follows:

Coorong

The department has had some early conversations with the Ngarrindjerri Regional Authority regarding amending the Coorong National Park Management Plan to enable the retention of shacks.

Subject to further discussion with the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, it is proposed that the park management plan be amended to permit the retention of shacks, subject to meeting contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards.

Innes

The co-management agreement with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation is currently being negotiated. It is expected that the Innes National Park Co-Management Board will be in place in 2019.

Consequently, the Minister will prepare a new draft park management plan for Innes National Park in consultation with the board.

The new draft park management plan, which will be the subject of community consultation, will address the retention of shacks provided they meet contemporary safety, amenity and environmental standards. 

Can I transfer my lease to another party or add other lessees to the lease?

Under the current provisions of the CLM Act it is not possible to transfer a life tenure lease to another party. Under the terms of the lease it is not permitted to have additional lessees added to the lease (other than the lessee’s spouse or a registered co-lessee), or to surrender the lease conditional on another freehold title, lease or licence being issued.

Shack leases in parks cannot be transferred and additional lessees cannot be added (other than the lessee’s partner, as outlined in the lease) while the park management plan does not envisage the retention of those shacks.

The Minister can only deal with the lessee(s) named on a lease in relation to any lease matters.

While some lessees may have entered into private ‘caretaker’ arrangements with other people in relation to their shack, such arrangements do not create legally enforceable rights in land and cannot be recognised by the government.

The department will investigate any possible options for transfer of a lease following the amendments sought to the CLM Act and the relevant amendments to the park management plans.

NOTE: It is not possible to transfer existing life tenure leases or add other lessees to a life tenure lease at present.

What will happen if the last lessee on the lease dies prior to the review being undertaken?

The government has placed a moratorium on the demolition of shack structures so families can have confidence that following the death of the last lessee the shack will remain while the shack review is underway.

The department will investigate any possible options for continuation of a lease after the death of the last person on the lease if and when the amendments sought to the CLM Act and the relevant amendments to the park management plans are achieved.

NOTE: No interim arrangements can be considered at present.

What action can I take until my shack is assessed?

Lessees are required to continue to comply with the conditions of their lease, including maintaining the shack and improvements in good tenantable and working repair and condition.

Lessees are encouraged to review the Investigation Report, when released, and provide feedback.

Where the lessee’s shack is in a shack settlement, they are encouraged to work with their shack owners’ association (if one exists), other lessees, the local council and relevant agencies to understand what they may need to do to align with the pertinent regulations outlined in the Investigation Report.

Enquiries

Please refer all enquiries on the Retaining Shacks Project to:

Email:    DEWshacks@sa.gov.au

Post:     Retaining Shacks Project
             GPO Box 1047
             ADELAIDE 5001     

Phone:  8821 2588

NOTE:  Until the amendments sought to the Crown Land Management Act 2009 and the relevant park management plans are achieved, the Project Team are unable to respond to enquiries about individual shack sites.

For enquiries on general lease transactions please email DEW.CrownLandsEnquiries@sa.gov.au or contact your local Crown lands office.  

 

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