The South Australian Government is committed to creating new opportunities for families to retain shacks that are on Crown land and in national parks.
The commitment includes:
- providing 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
- investigating more freeholding of shacks located on Crown land
- providing a renewable tenure option to shacks located within national parks
- seeking fair valuation advice for the sale of shack sites
- strengthening 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 the long-term tenure for those sites.
It does not apply to outstanding matters from previous freeholding deeds and land management agreements, and 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 termination of shack leases upon the death of the last lessee 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).
This review has identified a number of legal barriers that need to be addressed before a new policy framework for retaining shacks can be finalised and assessments can begin.
These barriers are:
Crown land management legislation
A clause in the transitional provisions of the Crown Land Management Act 2009 (Act) prevents life tenure leases being converted to another tenure. The government will seek to amend the Act to enable suitable life tenure leases to be lawfully converted to another tenure.
Park management plans for relevant parks
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 those parks, subject to meeting legal requirements and contemporary standards.
Over the next few years, the management arrangements for Coorong National Park and Innes National Park is expected to change, resulting in co-management arrangements with Aboriginal traditional owners. The amendment or development of new park management plans for these parks will be progressed through consultation and negotiation with Traditional Owners.
To address these barriers, a Crown Land Management (Section 78B Leases) Amendment Bill has been prepared.
The Bill will amend the Act to provide an opportunity for holders of a section 78B (life tenure) shack Crown lease to apply for longer tenure, and also creates a mechanism to manage unauthorised fixtures on Crown land.
A Preliminary Discussion Paper has also been prepared, which outlines the findings to date and actions being taken to enable greater certainty of tenure for shacks on Crown land and in national parks.
Frequently asked questions
How long will the amendments to the Crown Land Management Act take?
The intention is to introduce the Crown Land Management (Section 78B Leases) Amendment Bill to the South Australian Parliament in the latter part of this year.
How long will the amendments to park management plans take?
The statutory 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.
In addition, DEW will consult and negotiate with the Ngarrindjeri and the Narungga Traditional Owners as future co-managers of the Coorong National Park and the Innes National Park, respectively.
Due to the unique requirements of each park, amendments to individual park management plans will be progressed separately, as follows:
Coorong National Park
The South Australian Government has agreed to work towards co-management of the Coorong National Park with the Ngarrindjeri People. It is important to note that negotiation of this agreement cannot commence until all of the Ngarrindjerri’s Native Title claim has been resolved. However, subject to further discussions with the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, the government intends to seek an amendment to the Coorong National Park Management Plan prior to the co-management agreement coming into effect.
Subject to further discussion with the Ngarrindjeri People, it is estimated that it could take up to 18 months until such an amendment comes into effect.
Innes National Park
The co-management agreement with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation is currently being negotiated. Once finalised, the co-management board will be appointed and then the Minister is required to draft a new park management plan in collaboration with the Board.
The drafting of the new park management plan is expected to commence later this year (after the Board is appointed) and it is estimated that it could take 18 months until a new management plan comes into effect.
Can I add other lessees to my current lease?
Under the terms of the lease, additional lessees cannot be added to the lease (other than the lessee’s spouse or a registered co-lessee).
Likewise, shack leases in the parks listed above cannot be transferred, or additional lessees 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.
In summary: It is not possible to add other lessees to a life tenure lease at present.
Can I transfer my lease to another party?
Under the terms of the lease it is not possible to transfer a life tenure lease to another party, and under the current provisions of the Act the lease cannot be surrendered, conditional on another freehold title, lease or licence being issued.
Likewise, shack leases in parks cannot be transferred if 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 matters relating to that lease. While some lessees may have entered into private ‘caretaker’ arrangements for their shack with other people, such arrangements do not create legally enforceable rights in land and cannot be recognised.
The government is investigating whether it would be possible to ‘transfer’ a life tenure lease to another party, subject to the successful amendment of the Act and the relevant park management plans.
In summary: It is not possible to transfer an existing 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 automatic termination of shack leases while the shack review is underway so families can have confidence that they can continue to occupy the shack in the event of the death of the last lessee, until such time as they are assessed for their suitability for longer tenure.
The government is currently investigating whether an interim arrangement could be put in place to allow continued occupation of leases that have terminated since 19 March 2018, subject to the successful amendment of the Act and the relevant park management plans.
In summary: No interim arrangements can be considered at present.
What action can I take until my shack is assessed?
- Lessees should continue to comply with the conditions of their lease, including maintaining their shack and surrounding areas.
- Lessees are encouraged to review the Crown Land Management (Section 78B Leases) Bill and the Preliminary Discussion Paper 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 relevant standards outlined in the discussion paper.
Please refer all enquiries on the Retaining Shacks Commitment to:
Post: Retaining Shacks Project
GPO Box 1047
Phone: (08) 8821 2588
Note: While amendments are being pursued to the Act and the relevant park management plans, the Retaining Shacks Project Team will not be able to respond to enquiries about individual shack sites.
For further information please read the Retaining Shacks commitment.
For enquiries on general lease transactions email DEW.CrownLandsEnquiries@sa.gov.au or contact your local Crown lands office.