What is the difference between Community Land and Operational Land?
Community land – is land owned by Council that is used by the general public, such as a public reserve or park. By law the Council must prepare a plan of management that sets out how the public land will be used.
Operational land – is land owned by Council that is held as a temporary asset or as an investment. It is land, which Council owns that facilitates the carrying out of Council functions. The land may be open to the general public such as Woy Woy Land fill disposal site or land which is closed to the general public, such as a works depot at Erina or the Sewerage Treatment facility at Kincumber.
What is the purpose of classifying land as Community or Operational Land?
Under the Local Government Act 1993, Council is required to classify all land vested in it as either ‘community land’ or ‘operational land’. The purpose of classification is to ensure land that should be kept for use by the general public such as parks and reserves receives the classification of ‘community’. Public land that is needed for the purpose of depots or sewerage treatment facilities is classified as ‘operational’ or land that is deemed surplus to Council needs and Council intents to sell or lease is classified as ‘operational’.
An underlying principle in the classification of either ‘community land’ or ‘operation land’ is the ease or difficulty with which Council can have dealings in public land, including selling, leasing or licensing. Council can only sell or lease ‘operation land’. ‘Community land’ must be kept for the benefit of the public.
Reclassification of public land?
Reclassification of public land refers to the process of changing the classification of land from ‘operational’ to ‘community’, or from ‘community’ to ‘operational’. Changing the classification of ‘community’ land to ‘operational’ land is a legal process that forces council to be transparent. The legal process is set out in the Local Government Act 1993.
A key aspect of the legal process is that Council must hold a public meeting to change ‘community land’ to ‘operational land’.
The public hearing provides members of the community the opportunity to present your views on whether or not you support or object to the reclassification. The person presiding at the public hearing must not be a councillor or an employee of Council holding the public hearing.
After the public hearing the person presiding at the public hearing is to provide a report no later than four (4) days after the hearing.
Disclaimer: This fact sheet has been prepared in good faith to provide an understanding of the ‘Community Land’ and “Operational Land’ and the process of reclassification. The legal parameters of Community Land, Operational Land and reclassification are set out in Part 2 Public Land, Division 1 to 3 of the Local Government Act 1993.