Parks, Playgrounds and the Environment - Community Land Management
Parks and Playgrounds Movement have had long experience upholding the Community Land provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 and the statutory nature of Plans of Management for public land classified as “Community Land”.
The Minister for Local Government in his second reading speech stated the reason for Community Land was to bring a “new approach to the concept of public land management” and “enable community land to be more appropriately managed”.
Council Parks & Reserves are classified Community Land and required to be controlled by a Plan of Management. Public land is Community Land if it is:
1. Public Land comprising a public reserve,
2. Public Land subject to a public trust for a Public Purpose,
3. Public Land dedicated as a condition of Development Consent Sec 94 EP&A Act.
4. Public Land reserved, zoned or designated under a planning instrument for open space.
Elected Councillors are Trustees for Community Land and the Plans of Management and the public equity in these lands should at all time be uppermost in their minds.
A Trust is an important legal concept and a Trustee has a responsibility to the beneficiaries.
A trust exists if three conditions are present:
1. The Intention (community Land provisions of the Act), 2 The property (Community Land)
3. The object of the trust (beneficiaries - Electors and the General Public)
Community Land concepts were clearly argued in the High Court of Australia Judgment ‘Bathurst Council V PWC Properties P/L’ Sep 98 & Council’s responsibilities are set out in Chapter6 & Clause6 of Shedule7 Local Government Act 1993.
Under the new Crown Land Management Act 2016 Sect 3.23 a Crown Land Manager (chiefly a Council) is required to manage Dedicated or Reserved Crown land as if it were Community Land under the Local Government Act 1993. That means that it must be controlled by a lawfully made Plan of Management that honours the principal dedication of the land.
Public Land that is not Community Land and is temporally held by a Council is classified Operational Land. It is commercial property with few restrictions on its use or sale. Councillors should honour their public trust and protect Community Land. Unfortunately some public lands were wrongly classified “Operational” at the commencement of the Local Gov Act and should be classified “Community” in time.
We are pleased to provide above information in the public interest.