Landholders keen to learn about freehold conversions

There was a packed house for the NSW Government’s Western Lands Lease information session on Thursday night at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club with 137 local landholders in attendance.

There was a packed house last Thursday night at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club with 137 local landholders keen to hear how they might be able to convert their Western Land Leases (WLL) into freehold.

Sharon Hawke from the NSW Government Department of Industry said the WLL series of information sessions have been well attended with over 100 landholders turning out in Wentworth and 60 in Hillston for their WLL information sessions earlier in the week.

“The new Crown Management Act was passed by parliament in 2016 and it’s got provisions in there to allow for freeholding of Western Lands Leases,” Ms Hawke said.

“These are information sessions for Western Lands Lease holders who own Western Lands leases.

“Not all landholders will be able to do this but at least they want to be able to hear the information and know what’s happening and what this new Act will provide,” Ms Hawke said.

Staff from the NSW Government Department of Industry went through the process of application, assessment, requirements for granting an application, how a purchase
price was determined and the approval of purchasing Crown leasehold land to obtain freehold title.

The session outlined all of the considerations that needed to be taken into account during the process and the expected time frame and costs involved.

“The important messages are that it is a voluntary decision by a leaseholder if they choose to purchase their property and convert it to freehold title.

“If they elect to keep their leasehold arrangements it will be managed in the same way it currently is but under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 instead of the Western Lands Act 1901,” Ms Hawke said.

“Every application will vary in costs and time to process due to the individual circumstances of different properties.

“We also encouraged leaseholders to contact the department to discuss their situation first before lodging an application so the process and eligibility criteria could be explained for their own situation.”

Ms Hawke said they received good feedback from the meeting in Cobar with participants reporting it had been a very clear presentation and a good explanation of the process.

She said they received many questions from Cobar landholders regarding price, payment options, access, Crown timber and other matters.

“There were not any questions that we had not heard before except for one around GST and capital gains tax.

“That is a question a leaseholder would need to discuss with their financial advisor,” Ms Hawke said.