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Reserves and trust land

Community purposes for dedicating trust land

The Land Act 1994 enables unallocated state land to be dedicated as trust land for community purposes. These are listed in Schedule 1 of the Land Act; additional details for each purpose are provided below.

Trust land is unable to be dedicated for the operational needs of government such as police stations, schools or hospitals, or for local government services such as sewerage, water supply and council offices. Generally land required for operational use is held under freehold on payment of market value.

Aboriginal purposes

To be used for the Indigenous community as a whole (e.g. community hall), but not for residential purposes or for benefit of public servants.

Beach protection

To be used for the protection of natural coastal landforms and coastal processes, including erosion and accretion of beaches and dunes and the protection of native vegetation which stabilises dunes against wind erosion.

Buffer zones

Generally to be used as a barrier between parcels of land with differing and/or potentially incompatible uses, or between land for urban or rural uses, and the sea or watercourses. These areas could be identified by a formal planning study or as the result of further dealing with state leases or trust land.

Care must be taken to ensure that any proposal to dedicate land for a buffer zone will produce the required community benefit and not be de facto landscaping for a private residential or commercial development project.

Cemeteries

Reserves for cemetery purposes are generally not created today; cemeteries would usually be held in freehold and managed by the relevant local government.

Coastal management

Coastal management includes the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and management of coastal resources as defined in the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995.

This may include rehabilitating or restoring natural environmental values of degraded areas, and knowledge-sharing and community engagement.

A coastal management purpose reserve would usually be created as a condition under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 of a reconfiguration of a lot development application and only where the relevant local government has agreed to be trustee.

Crematoriums

Reserves for crematorium purpose are not generally created today; crematoriums are held in freehold and managed by the relevant local government or private operators.

Cultural purposes

To preserve the cultural values in or on the land (e.g. historical burial site, fish trap).

Drainage

To deal with drainage issues for the wider community benefit and held by the relevant local government.

Environmental purposes

Where a parcel of land contains a particular type of flora or fauna or geological occurrence and warrants protection, but the size of the area and/or the relative scale or extent of the attribute is not sufficient to establish and manage as a separate national park or other conservation tenure.

Gardens

A past purpose that would not generally be used today and was used for the establishment of formal display of plants (e.g. botanical gardens). These would now best be dedicated as a park reserve.

Heritage

To preserve the heritage of the community (e.g. convict building, Cobb & Co site or structure).

Historical

To preserve the historical values of the state or community (e.g. Dig Tree, wool scour).

Jetties

To be used for a jetty for a public purpose (e.g. public ferry service), and not for a commercial operation.

Landing places

To be used for a landing place in a waterway (e.g. public landing place for marine craft boats and barges) and not for a commercial operation.

This use does not include landing of aircraft, which is considered an operational use.

The previous Act (Land Act 1962) listed as public purposes aerodromes, landing grounds for aircraft, wharves, jetties, slips, quays and landing places. This Act was repealed by the Land Act 1994, and the number of purposes for which trust land could be dedicated was restricted to community purposes.

Aerodromes and landing grounds for aircraft were not included as they were not considered community purposes, but operational. From commencement of the Land Act 1994 until amendments that commenced 1 January 2008, the community purpose (see Reprint Nos 1 to 9C) was listed as public boat ramps, jetties and landing places (i.e. for marine craft only). The amendment from 2008 simply placed the purposes in alphabetical order.

Mortuaries

Reserves for mortuary purposes are generally not created today and a reserve for this purpose is no longer appropriate. In Australia, the majority of human remains are stored and prepared in the mortuary of a funeral home or a hospital.

Natural resource management

To be considered as an interim step to safeguard any community, environmental or natural resource use needs that may have been identified within areas of land, but are not yet clearly defined. It is usual that once these needs or benefits are clearly defined, action is taken to deal with the relevant parts of the land in terms of the Land Act 1994 or other appropriate legislation.

The potential natural resource utilisation needs that require clarification could include:

  • assessment or identification of complementary community uses, or environmental or conservation needs within a given area of land as part of land planning study
  • identification and potential extraction of valuable mineral resources prior to reservation for conservation purposes
  • harvesting of commercial timber prior to dedication for another community purpose
  • rehabilitation of degraded land areas prior to further dealing under the Land Act 1994.

For example, this purpose should be used when the primary potential use of the land has a strong conservation or environmental protection element. This purpose should not be used where land is to be reserved pending the identification of the future strategic or infrastructure needs of the state. In these cases, the appropriate purpose would be 'strategic land management'.

Navigational purposes

This is generally considered an operational purpose; a lease would be the most appropriate tenure.

Open space

To be used for the reservation of areas of land, including those which have been identified through regional or local planning schemes as land which should be retained in a fundamentally undeveloped state. These land areas provide benefits to the community by virtue of their comparative lack of development when compared to the level of infrastructure or landscaping that is traditionally associated with trust land for sport, recreation, parks or gardens.

Parks

To be used for low-key recreational uses (e.g. picnics, small children’s playground, park bench).

Provision of services beneficial to Aboriginal people particularly concerned with land

To be used only for land that is transferable land under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991. Generally used in place of the old departmental and official reserves. This will allow the reserved land to be appropriately managed until such time as it is further dealt with as transferable land.

Provision of services beneficial to Torres Strait Islanders particularly concerned with land

To be used for land that is transferable land under the Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991. Generally used in place of the old departmental and official reserves. This will allow the reserved land to be appropriately managed until such time as it is further dealt with as transferable land.

Public boat ramps

To be used for launching a boat or other marine craft for the public. Generally held by the relevant local government or possibly the Department of Transport and Main Roads, but not for a commercial operation.

Public halls

To be used for a place used by the community for public events (e.g. monthly meeting of a small community club, public meetings). It is not appropriate for local government civic centres or similar local government buildings.

Public toilet facilities

Reserves for this purpose are generally not created today. If the facilities are on a road then the road manager can authorise it; otherwise the facilities would generally be within suitable community purpose reserves such as a park or recreation reserve.

Recreation

To be used for informal active recreation facilities (e.g. bicycle track, cricket net, tennis walls, half-size tennis or basketball courts).

Roads

Originally used for an area required for future road use, but no longer appropriate. If an area is required for road, it should be dedicated as road. In more recent times the purpose has been used for pedestrian bridges (e.g. Goodwill Bridge in Brisbane).

Scenic purposes

Used for land that provides a unique or special opportunity for the public to view a particular physical feature (e.g. waterfall, gorge, rock formation) or an area of significant natural beauty or aesthetic appeal (e.g. spectacular river valley, an area of pristine rainforest or an area of rugged coastline).

In some cases, the actual land within the scenic reserve may not have any special physical or environmental attributes other than the views which are available from the land (e.g. in cases where the scenic reserve is the only practical lookout beside a road).

Scientific purposes

In the past, scientific reserves have been used for the study of flora and fauna, the management of fossil fields and in one case, the establishment of a marine research institute. However, the need to dedicate land for scientific purposes has declined in recent times due to 2 main factors.

Firstly, the application of the wider government policies to ‘operational’ land means that many new research stations or facilities can be dealt with by way of a State of Queensland deed of grant (or lease in limited instances), rather than dedication for community purposes.

Secondly, with the commencement of the Nature Conservation Act 1992, many of the activities associated with the scientific study of conservation and environmental matters can now be managed and maintained under the tenure of National Park (Scientific).

The dedication of the area for scientific purposes would be appropriate in cases where a proposal relating to the establishment of a non-commercial research activity or scientific study does not meet the criteria for reservation as a National Park (Scientific) but would be beneficial to the community.

Showgrounds

Generally held by the relevant local government with some older trust lands held by the Show Society.

Sport

To be used for non-exclusive sporting activities (e.g. clubs conducting organised or competitive sporting activities such as cricket oval or football field). Where land is to be used exclusively for sport or recreational purposes, the appropriate tenure would be freehold or a term lease.

Strategic land management

This purpose is used for land that is to be held from sale or disposal because of its potential to contribute to the future strategic development of the state. Examples of this strategic potential might be the retention of land for either a future port development, the expansion of an urban locality or the provision of essential infrastructure.

It is important to note that the intent of this purpose differs from that of natural resource management in that strategic land management reserves are primarily concerned with the interim retention of land which has the potential to contribute to the strategic development of the state. The strategic land management purpose should not be used when the primary intention of the reservation is the protection of environmental or conservation attributes.

Torres Strait Islander purposes

To be used for the Indigenous community as a whole (e.g. community hall), but not for residential purposes or for the benefit of public servants.

Travelling stock requirements

Used in conjunction with the stock route network.

Watering places

Used in conjunction with the stock route network; however, the preferred purpose when used in conjunction with the stock route network is 'travelling stock requirements'.

Related information

In this guide:

  1. Community purposes for dedicating trust land
  2. Model by-laws for trust land
  3. Trustee leases
  4. Roles and responsibilities of trustees
  5. Deed of grant over an operational reserve
  6. Land management planning

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