Leases, licences and permits to occupy

Applying for a permit to occupy

A permit to occupy is issued for a specific purpose for minor or temporary matters, such as short-term grazing, pump sites, apiary sites, entrance ramps to building sites, advertising signs on roads and investigation work on unallocated state land.

Permits may be issued for areas below the high-water mark in some cases. Read our Permit to occupy policy (PDF, 719KB) for details.

A permit to occupy can be issued over unallocated state land, a reserve or road (including a stock route). Permits cannot be issued over freehold or leasehold land.

Permits do not allow exclusive possession of the land and the reason for occupation must be able to co-exist with the purpose of the land (e.g. a road or reserve).

Short-term permits are issued for periods of less than 12 months.

Before applying

If you are applying for a permit to occupy associated with a secondary use of state land, such as a reserve or a road, you must first discuss the application with the trustee of the reserve or the road manager to determine if they can authorise the use. The road manager is:

  • for a state-controlled road—the chief executive of the department in which the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 is administered (Department of Transport and Main Roads)
  • for a road that is under the control of a local government—the local government.

If the proposed use is on a State-controlled road, an application for a permit to occupy under the Land Act 1994 is not required and must NOT be lodged. Contact Department of Transport and Main Roads to authorise the proposed use.

If the proposed use is located on a reserve, a trustee lease or trustee permit is the preferred tenure. Contact the trustee to discuss these options.

A statement by the trustee of the reserve or the road manager must be made on the approved form LA30 (see below); the completed form must be submitted with your application.

How to apply

Your application should include:

To avoid processing delays, read the forms carefully and include all required information.

Dividing fence agreement

If an existing property fence is to be used as a boundary fence for the permit to occupy and you do not own the fence, you must submit a written agreement signed by you and the fence owner with the application for a permit to occupy, detailing agreed conditions about the maintenance of the fence. This agreement must be submitted before we can issue the permit to occupy.

Water licence for pumps, bores and wells

If water is to be obtained from a stream or natural waterhole and the associated pump is to be located on unallocated state land, you must obtain a permit to occupy. In most cases, a water licence will also be required.

We will not approve a permit unless you can provide evidence that either:

  • a water licence has been obtained
  • an application for a licence is under investigation
  • a licence is not required by the agency responsible for water licences.

Lodging your application

You can lodge your state land application by emailing or by posting it to Department of Resources, PO Box 5318, Townsville QLD 4810.

Payment options

If a fee applies to your application, payment options are cheque (by post) or credit card.

Cheques should be made out to the 'Department Resources' and marked 'not negotiable'.

Credit card payments are accepted over the phone.

We will send you a receipt once we have established that your application meets all requirements and has been properly made.

Contact us

If you have any questions about lodging your application or payment, contact:

How your application is assessed

We will assess your application against legislative requirements. We will seek the views of other stakeholders (e.g. state, regional and local agencies) and inspect the land if required.

Policies and legislation

Native title

Our review will also include an assessment of whether native title issues need to be addressed, and how this should be done. Depending on the outcome, you may be required to address native titles issues as a condition of the offer.

Other considerations

We will also ensure that all outstanding rent on the leases has been paid.

What happens next?

Once we have received the advice of other stakeholders and all issues, including native title, have been investigated, we will send you a written notice.

If your application is successful, a written offer will set out the various conditions and requirements. You must complete the acceptance form and return it to us by the date specified or the offer will lapse.

The offer will usually include the:

  • rent of the new permit
  • conditions to which the new permit will be subject
  • requirement to pay all regulatory fees and charges.

Once you have met all requirements and conditions of the offer, we will issue the new tenure in your name.


If the permit to occupy is granted, the right to occupy applies only to the permit holder. Permits cannot be transferred, sublet or mortgaged

No major structural improvements, other than boundary fencing, are allowed. If a permit is cancelled or surrendered, any improvements become the property of the state and no compensation is payable. The permit holder may be allowed to remove improvements.

If a permit is granted over a part of a road, the area remains open for use as a road. If the permit is over a reserve, the land remains available for the particular community purpose it was reserved for.

Local governments may choose to rate the permit to occupy. Check with them for more information.

Related information

In this guide:

  1. Leasing state land
  2. Applying for a permit to occupy
  3. Renewing a lease
  4. Extending a rolling term lease
  5. Transferring a lease or licence
  6. Surrendering a lease, licence or permit to occupy
  7. Converting/purchasing a lease
  8. Subdividing a lease
  9. Amalgamating leases
  10. Amending the description of a lease
  11. Amending the purpose or conditions
  12. Obtaining approval for a sublease

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