Pastoral lessees, renewable energy proponents, and other parties should review and consider making a submission on the Western Australian Government's draft Policy Framework to guide the use of diversification leases, a proposed new form of non-exclusive land tenure over Crown land.
The Framework describes the proposed changes to the Land Administration Act 1997 (WA) expected later this year which will create diversification leases to enable the development of areas of Crown land without creating "private land". Diversification leases will be granted by the Minister for Lands and are intended for:
- carbon farming;
- wind and solar energy projects;
- green hydrogen projects;
- horticulture projects; and
- cultural tourism businesses.
Diversification leases will co-exist with the activities of resource companies, pastoral lessees and native title holders. The draft Policy Framework also describes the various approvals that will be required for the grant of a diversification lease – for example, the Minister for Lands, Minister for Mines, and native title parties.
A diversification lease cannot be granted over Crown land already the subject of a lease under the Act (eg. pastoral lease), unless that land is first surrendered from the existing lease. If part of a pastoral lease is to be surrendered for the grant of a diversification lease, the Minister for Lands will firstly obtain advice from the Pastoral Lands Board.
A diversification lease can have multiple subleases to different sub-lessees for different purposes, and overlapping of sublease areas is possible if the uses are not mutually exclusive.
Clients may consider making a submission on the draft Policy Framework before the closing date of Saturday 30 July 2022.