07 Nov 2013

Amendments to Pastoral Land Act (NT) to allow diversification

by Margaret Michaels, Brian Noble

If you hold a pastoral lease in the Northern Territory you will soon be able to apply for a permit to use all or part of the land held under a pastoral lease for non-pastoral purposes.

On 17 October 2013, the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passed amendments to the Pastoral Land Act (NT) (Act) to allow pastoralists to diversify pastoral land use and develop new income streams.

The amendments have not yet commenced, but when they come into force, holders of pastoral leases will be able to make applications for a permit to use all or part of the land held under a pastoral lease for non-pastoral purposes. The permits:

  • will be granted for up to 30 years;
  • will be registered against the pastoral lease which will allow the transfer of permits if properties are sold; and
  • are intended to allow pastoralists to develop new income streams in non-pastoral operations, including in tourism, conservation, agriculture and forestry.

This is a significant change to the current system under the Act which allows the Pastoral Land Board to issue permits for non-pastoral purposes for a maximum period of five years that are personal to the lessee. The amendments should provide pastoralists with greater certainty and confidence to explore and invest in longer term non-pastoral opportunities, and is also likely to result in an increase in activity in the sale and purchase of NT pastoral leases.

In assessing an application for a permit, the Pastoral Land Board will take into account a number of factors, including ensuring that applications are compliant with the Native Title Act, current government policy and the likely impact of the non-pastoral use on the environment and the pastoral activities carried out on the land.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.