Proposed new standard condition of pastoral leases

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Herd of brown cows in a fenced paddock.

Overview

The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage are undertaking consultation on proposed changes to the terms and conditions of pastoral leases.

Once consultation is complete, all submissions received are analysed and any necessary changes made, the Minister for Lands will be requested to approve the new terms and conditions to be prescribed in regulations made under section 275(ga) of the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA).

These prescribed terms and conditions will not affect current pastoral leases but will be used on the grant of a new pastoral lease, or a renewal or extension of a pastoral lease if the Minister for Lands decides to extend or renew by the grant of a new lease.

There are two existing pastoral lease forms, which came about as a result of a review of pastoral lease terms in 2014 ahead of the 2015 renewal of most of the then current pastoral leases in Western Australia, and which are no longer satisfactory or fit for purpose.

Existing lease forms:

2015 Pastoral Lease - Option 1

2015 Pastoral Lease - Option 2

The first lease form (Option 1) refers to an expired lease document granted under the repealed Land Act 1933 for its terms and conditions and the second lease form (Option 2) included terms and conditions set out in more modern language.

However, it does not include several conditions that would normally be expected to be present in a modern lease, such as insurance and indemnity clauses.

In order to modernise and ensure consistency across the pastoral estate, a review of the terms contained in the Option 2 lease has now been completed and the Department is seeking submissions in relation to the proposed new terms and conditions.

Proposed lease:

2023 Pastoral Lease

In summary, the following inclusions are proposed, in addition to existing terms.

  • The indemnity provision apportions risk and loss consistent with modern lease terms and business practices. The lessee acknowledges that it occupies the land at its own risk and releases and indemnifies the lessor in respect of claims and losses arising from the lessee's occupation and activities on the land. This includes any contamination or pollution it causes or contributes to and losses arising from a breach of the lease. The lessee is not liable under the indemnity to the extent the lessor causes or contributes to that loss. The scope of the indemnity is limited to the lessees’ actions and activities and does not extend to the actions of uninvited third parties or other tenure holders (Clause 9.1).

  • A requirement for the lessee to obtain and maintain insurance relevant to its activities on the land and covering the injury or death of any person, property damage and liability arising from any sudden and accidental contamination or pollution (Clause 9.2).

  • A more comprehensive clause requiring the lessee to pay or reimburse the lessor any reasonable costs incurred from providing and registering the lease or in relation to certain matters arising under the lease (assignment, surrender, default) (Clause 4.2).

  • Minor changes to definitions resulting from recent legislative amendments.

The Department is undertaking a 12-month engagement process with affected stakeholders, to ensure pastoral lessees, peak industry bodies, banks, finance providers and insurance companies are given an opportunity to provide feedback on suggested changes to the new draft pastoral lease.

Following this consultation and a review of submissions received, the Minister for Lands will be requested to recommend to the Governor that regulations prescribing the terms of a pastoral lease be made pursuant to section 275(ga) of the LAA and which will be drafted and considered by the Government during the second half of 2025.

Background

The pastoral estate comprises 489 pastoral leases covering approximately 85.6 million hectares or 34 per cent of the entire mainland area of Western Australia.

Pastoral leases are administered by the Pastoral Lands Board (PLB) which has a number of functions but most importantly:

  • To provide advice to the Minister for Lands on policy relating to the pastoral industry and the administration of pastoral leases and to ensure that pastoral leases are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis.
  • To administer pastoral leases in accordance with Part 7 of the LAA.

The PLB is committed to creating an environment where government and pastoral lessees work cooperatively together to enhance productivity and financial viability, while achieving improved land management outcomes.

Pastoral leases are leases of Crown land for pastoral purposes which is essentially the commercial grazing of authorised stock and certain supplementary uses and ancillary activities.

All current pastoral leases were renewed on 1 July 2015 for terms between 18 and 50 years and are due to expire again between 30 June 2033 and 30 June 2065, unless the Minister agrees to extend the term of the lease on application by the pastoral lessee and agreement of the relevant native title party(s) in an Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Overview

The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage are undertaking consultation on proposed changes to the terms and conditions of pastoral leases.

Once consultation is complete, all submissions received are analysed and any necessary changes made, the Minister for Lands will be requested to approve the new terms and conditions to be prescribed in regulations made under section 275(ga) of the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA).

These prescribed terms and conditions will not affect current pastoral leases but will be used on the grant of a new pastoral lease, or a renewal or extension of a pastoral lease if the Minister for Lands decides to extend or renew by the grant of a new lease.

There are two existing pastoral lease forms, which came about as a result of a review of pastoral lease terms in 2014 ahead of the 2015 renewal of most of the then current pastoral leases in Western Australia, and which are no longer satisfactory or fit for purpose.

Existing lease forms:

2015 Pastoral Lease - Option 1

2015 Pastoral Lease - Option 2

The first lease form (Option 1) refers to an expired lease document granted under the repealed Land Act 1933 for its terms and conditions and the second lease form (Option 2) included terms and conditions set out in more modern language.

However, it does not include several conditions that would normally be expected to be present in a modern lease, such as insurance and indemnity clauses.

In order to modernise and ensure consistency across the pastoral estate, a review of the terms contained in the Option 2 lease has now been completed and the Department is seeking submissions in relation to the proposed new terms and conditions.

Proposed lease:

2023 Pastoral Lease

In summary, the following inclusions are proposed, in addition to existing terms.

  • The indemnity provision apportions risk and loss consistent with modern lease terms and business practices. The lessee acknowledges that it occupies the land at its own risk and releases and indemnifies the lessor in respect of claims and losses arising from the lessee's occupation and activities on the land. This includes any contamination or pollution it causes or contributes to and losses arising from a breach of the lease. The lessee is not liable under the indemnity to the extent the lessor causes or contributes to that loss. The scope of the indemnity is limited to the lessees’ actions and activities and does not extend to the actions of uninvited third parties or other tenure holders (Clause 9.1).

  • A requirement for the lessee to obtain and maintain insurance relevant to its activities on the land and covering the injury or death of any person, property damage and liability arising from any sudden and accidental contamination or pollution (Clause 9.2).

  • A more comprehensive clause requiring the lessee to pay or reimburse the lessor any reasonable costs incurred from providing and registering the lease or in relation to certain matters arising under the lease (assignment, surrender, default) (Clause 4.2).

  • Minor changes to definitions resulting from recent legislative amendments.

The Department is undertaking a 12-month engagement process with affected stakeholders, to ensure pastoral lessees, peak industry bodies, banks, finance providers and insurance companies are given an opportunity to provide feedback on suggested changes to the new draft pastoral lease.

Following this consultation and a review of submissions received, the Minister for Lands will be requested to recommend to the Governor that regulations prescribing the terms of a pastoral lease be made pursuant to section 275(ga) of the LAA and which will be drafted and considered by the Government during the second half of 2025.

Background

The pastoral estate comprises 489 pastoral leases covering approximately 85.6 million hectares or 34 per cent of the entire mainland area of Western Australia.

Pastoral leases are administered by the Pastoral Lands Board (PLB) which has a number of functions but most importantly:

  • To provide advice to the Minister for Lands on policy relating to the pastoral industry and the administration of pastoral leases and to ensure that pastoral leases are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis.
  • To administer pastoral leases in accordance with Part 7 of the LAA.

The PLB is committed to creating an environment where government and pastoral lessees work cooperatively together to enhance productivity and financial viability, while achieving improved land management outcomes.

Pastoral leases are leases of Crown land for pastoral purposes which is essentially the commercial grazing of authorised stock and certain supplementary uses and ancillary activities.

All current pastoral leases were renewed on 1 July 2015 for terms between 18 and 50 years and are due to expire again between 30 June 2033 and 30 June 2065, unless the Minister agrees to extend the term of the lease on application by the pastoral lessee and agreement of the relevant native title party(s) in an Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Page last updated: 12 Jul 2024, 11:51 AM