Lord Howe Island is part of New South Wales and, although administered under the Lord Howe Island Act 1953, it comprises Crown Land and is subject to the provisions of:
- The Crown Lands Act 1989
- The Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979, and
- The Roads Act 1993
All land on the island is vested in the Crown (s.16 Lord Howe Island Act 1953), under the management of the Lord Howe Island Board (NSW). Islanders (i.e. those persons so deemed in s.3 Lord Howe Island Act 1953) may be granted a lease in perpetuity for residential or commercial purposes (ss.20 & 21).
Land may also be reserved or dedicated to the public by the publication of a notification in the Government Gazette by the Minister Administering the Lord Howe Island Act 1953 (s.19). Special leases, not exceeding ten (10) years, may also be granted to Islanders for grazing, cultivation or other approved purposes.
Subdivision action may affect existing leases of any type, roads and/or Crown title.
Road opening and/or closure may be instigated under the provisions of the Roads Act 1993.
Subdivision action entails the surrender to the Crown of the whole or a part of an existing lease (s.22A). A deposited plan of survey must be prepared to define the position of the new boundaries. As the fee of the land remains Crown Title, first titles are NOT created. Instead new Crown leases are prepared in terms of lots in the new plan (s.23) and registered in NSW LRS in the General Register of Deeds.
A plan of land not formerly identified as a portion, lot or road will be treated in the same way as a Crown plan for 'First Title Issue'. A subdivision certificate is not required.
The Lord Howe Island Board is the consent authority for all development and subdivision activity that is to take place on the island - see ss.15A and 18 Lord Howe Island Act 1953. Consequently, any plan that creates new boundaries subdividing one or more existing Crown parcels must bear a completed subdivision certificate signed by a delegate of the Minister Administering the Lord Howe Island Act 1953.
Creating and closing roads
The Lord Howe Island Board is the road authority for the construction, maintenance, repair and draining of all public roads throughout the island see s.12(1)(a) Lord Howe Island Act 1953 and s.263 Roads Act 1993. New roads may be created and dedicated to the public pursuant to the Roads Act 1993 either by:
- the inclusion of an appropriate dedication statement in the panel on the plan (section 9) or
- the publication of an appropriate notification in the Government Gazette (section 10).
The site of the new or proposed road is shown on the face of the plan in the usual manner.
Existing public roads may be closed by the publication in the Government Gazette of a notification closing the road pursuant to s.38 Roads Act 1993 and surrendering the fee of the road to the Crown. A deposited plan (signed by a delegate of the Minister) should be prepared defining the boundaries of the piece of road intended to be closed.
A closed road may be consolidated into the adjoining Crown lease(s) by the registration of a new deposited plan defining the new extended lease site.
Closed road plans must be signed by a delegate of the Minister for Environment.
As the fee of the lands comprising Lord Howe Island remains Crown Title, easements cannot be created pursuant to s.88B Conveyancing Act, 1919. However, easements in gross in favour of statutory authorities may be created over lands on the island by:
- registration of a deposited plan defining by survey the site(s) of the proposed easement(s), and
- preparation of a notification in the Government Gazette acquiring the new easement.
Easements between Crown leases can only be created as rights stipulated in the terms of the individual leases.
Any new deposited plan should be lodged as a deposited plan of survey. An exemption to prepare a plan of compilation may be granted by the Plan and Title Advisor, NSW LRS. The plan (and if a plan of subdivision, the Subdivision Certificate) should be signed by a delegate of the Minister Administering the Lord Howe Island Act 1953.