NT opens the door to recreational access on pastoral land

To: Carl Clifford <>
Subject: NT opens the door to recreational access on pastoral land
From: Paul Jacobson <>
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2011 15:19:54 +1000
Hi Carl,

Anyone interested in the public access issue should at least take a look at the 
following summary which is on the site linked from Chris' blog.

It appears what is being discussed is access routes _across_ leaseholds rather 
than unrestricted access to leasehold land.

"Public access

The current provisions of the Act relating to access across pastoral land 
whereby the Board declares a route for public access across pastoral land have 
proven to be unworkable. Landholders were unwilling to grant access due to 
issues such as road maintenance, property security and public liability.

The proposed amendments provide a legislative mechanism for the Minister for 
Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage to negotiate public access across 
pastoral land and to declare an access route if necessary. The amendments 
provide public liability cover, provisions for closure of access (due to 
mustering activities, seasonal conditions and road conditions), construction of 
adequate roads and associated access infrastructure and limitations of visitor 

The most significant change to the proposed amendment is that government will 
assume public liability. It is not intended that the access provisions will 
allow unfettered public access; the rights of the pastoralist to operate a 
pastoral enterprise and to protect their financial investment will be 
recognised. Agreements will be formal and recorded on title."


On 06/04/2011, at 12:41 PM, Carl Clifford wrote:

> Chris,
> Any idea on what the feelings of the leaseholders on this change is? If I was 
> a leaseholder, I would be fighting this tooth and nail. The incidence of 
> damage to property and theft on large rural holdings all over Australia is 
> high enough now, even with the right of a landholder or lessee to challenge 
> the right of anyone to be on their property. With anyone being able to enter 
> leasehold land willy-nilly, the temptation to loot unattended outstations may 
> be too great for some.
> The NT Government says they will underwrite public liability claims and 
> maintain roads on properties. Anyone who has mounted a public liability claim 
> against a Government, will no doubt wish future claimant under this scheme 
> lots of luck. As for maintaining the roads on properties, well, unless the NT 
> Government has a secret pot of gold, I imagine that they, as are other States 
> and Territories, are struggling to maintain their present road 
> infrastructures.
> I believe it is possible in the NT for leaseholders to convert their 
> properties to Fee Simple. If this is so, I can easily imagine there will be a 
> rush to convert from Leasehold, which would change matters slightly. It would 
> be a game Government which would allow the public free access to Fee Simple 
> properties.
> The plan to open up leasehold land will be great for birders, amongst others, 
> but there will be many problems to be solved, not to mention a lot of 
> fighting between vested interests.
> One final point on the matter, which might have a bearing on the matter, 
> there is an election next year in the NT. It always pays to look at the long 
> game.
> Cheers,
> Carl Clifford


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