Rural land in the ACT provides a distinctive landscape setting for the city, helps to conserve habitats and species and provides for productive and sustainable agriculture use and other compatible uses. In some localities, the non-urban areas also provide a land bank for future urban uses. Where this is the case, wherever possible the length of leases offered reflects planning intentions for the locality while providing a degree of security of tenure for rural land holders.
The Minister may make a determination to fix the term for a further rural lease. If the National Capital Authority has set a maximum term for a rural lease in a designated area, the term for a further rural lease of land cannot exceed that maximum term.
The Minister may make a determination for the amount payable for a further rural lease. If this is not made, the amount payable is the market value. A lessee granted a further lease is not liable to pay the Authority for improvements on the land made prior to regranting of the lease.
Land management agreements
The Authority may only grant a rural lease, grant a further rural lease, vary a rural lease or consent to the assignment or transfer of a rural lease if the person to whom the lease is to be granted, assigned or transferred, or whose lease is to be varied, has entered into a land management agreement with the Territory. The agreement must be in a form approved by the Minister and signed by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna and the person. The agreement may contain a provision allowing the agreement to be varied other than by agreement between the parties.
A rural lessee or anyone else with an interest in a rural lease cannot deal with the lease without the written consent of the Authority. There are also circumstances when the Authority must not consent to a dealing, for example, the Authority must not consent to the consolidation or subdivision of a lease during the holding period, unless the discharge amount is paid. A dealing without consent has no effect.
The requirements for land management agreements and Authority consent to dealings as described do not apply to the transfer or assignment of a lease or interest in a lease if the lessee has died, or the transfer/assignment is made pursuant to orders adjusting the property interests of parties in a domestic relationship, or by the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency, although the person to whom the lease or interest has been transferred or assigned must enter into a land management agreement. Land management agreements must be entered into no later than six months (or any extended period) after the day the lease, part of the lease or interest, is transferred or assigned to the interest holder.