Direct Sales

What is a direct sale?

A direct sale is a method of land release permitted by the Planning and Development Act 2007 (the Act), whereby the ACT Government can offer a lease of land to an eligible applicant without going through a competitive land sales process.

This method of land release may only be considered where an applicant and their proposed use of land meet statutory requirements, including relevant eligibility criteria under the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 (the Regulation). The applicant must also demonstrate a viable business case.

The ACT Government will consider the release of land by direct sale for:

  1. non-contiguous (standalone) blocks of land where leases are sold at market value to commercial and community organisations; and
  2. contiguous blocks of land where leases are sold at market value to commercial organisations and concessional leases to community organisations.

In both scenarios, Government entities are eligible to apply.

The sale of non-contiguous blocks of land at a concessional rate to the community not-for-profit sector—which includes non-government educational establishments, community uses and supportive accommodation—will be managed under an expression of interest and tender process and no longer by direct sale.

To find out more about this process see Concessional community use land.

It must also be noted that assessment of an applicant's eligibility for direct sale does not guarantee an offer of a grant of a lease.

Who manages the direct sale applications process?

The Strategic Projects and Infrastructure Branch in the Urban Renewal Division of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) undertakes the functions associated with managing the direct sale of land. The land is prepared and released for sale following Government approval of a direct sale.

Decide if your organisation is eligible and should apply

If you are thinking about making an application for the direct sale of land, please contact the Direct Sales team through Access Canberra by phoning 13 22 81. The Direct Sales team will be able to discuss your proposal and options available to you.

The following steps will assist you in preparing a business case as part of your direct sale application. They will also help to determine whether your organisation and proposal meets the requirements of the Act, including any relevant eligibility criteria in the Regulation.

  1. Prior to commencing a direct sales application, please contact the Direct Sales team through Access Canberra by phoning 13 22 81.
  2. Decide if you should apply.
  3. Develop your business case.
  4. Complete the relevant online application form:
  5. EPSDD will write to your organisation to acknowledge receipt of the application and request payment of the direct sale fee.
  6. Once EPSDD is satisfied that it has enough information, your application will be circulated across the ACT Government, giving all relevant Directorates the opportunity to comment on the proposal. If the application is generally supported by all relevant Directorates, a request will be made to the Government to make a formal decision regarding your organisation's eligibility to obtain a direct sale of a lease over land from the ACT Government.
  7. Provided that the ACT Government has agreed to the direct sale, EPSDD will commence a site selection process (if necessary) and perform the appropriate due diligence, site preparation and valuation procedures that are required to prepare the land for the grant of a Crown lease (either concessional on non-concessional depending on the application) to your organisation.
  8. Once this work has been completed, the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) will send a formal lease offer on behalf of the ACT Government to your organisation.

The application process and fees

You should note that:

  1. eligibility for a direct sale of land does not guarantee an offer of a lease
  2. a direct sale will generally take between 6 months and 24 months to complete depending on the proposal
  3. supplying insufficient evidence or incomplete applications could cause delays to the direct sale
  4. Application fees for direct sale applications are:
    • Commercial Entity Applications $12,054.00
    • Government Entity Applications $3,014.00
    • Community Entity Applications $3014.00
  5. Application fees are required on delivery of the application and can be paid:
    • by cheque made payable to the Suburban Land Agency
    • electronically to the Suburban Land Agency account, making sure you include your organisation name as a reference
      • BSB: 032777
      • Account Number: 002722

A receipt will be sent to you by mail.

Direct Sale Step 1: Decide if you should apply

What is the direct sale process?

The Directorate receives applications and manages the direct sale process by which:

  • the eligibility of applicants to apply for a direct sale is assessed by an interdepartmental Direct Sale Panel
  • suitable sites of land are identified for direct sale
  • recommendations are made to Government for the direct sale of suitable sites to applicants assessed as eligible
  • site investigation and site preparation is undertaken and
  • lease offer documentation is prepared

What is the Direct Sale Panel?

The Direct Sale Panel assesses the eligibility of direct sale applicants and their proposed use of land in accordance with the Act. This includes an assessment of whether the applicant:

  • meets any relevant eligibility criteria under the Regulation and
  • is financially capable to complete the proposed development project

It also requires an assessment that the proposal:

  • is of significant benefit to the community
  • aligns with any stated Government policy objectives and
  • achieves an optimal land development outcome

The direct sale application forms are designed to assist you in demonstrating your eligibility and require you to provide a business case for the Panel to consider.

Identification of sites for direct sale

The Urban Renewal Division will co-ordinate the identification of sites that may be suitable for direct sale, if you are found eligible. The site identification process gives consideration to:

  • specific site or location preferences indicated in your application
  • the suitability of the site to meet operational requirements as specified and
  • costs to the Territory in making land available for release by direct sale

The Government will make the final decision about whether an offer of a lease by direct sale will be made to you for a particular site.

Am I eligible?

Government directorates (Territory, Territory Entity and Commonwealth Entity)

The eligibility for a direct sale of land depends on your ability to meet the statutory requirements which include:

  • demonstrating that an amount has been appropriated, or is otherwise available to develop and manage the land and
  • the land is suitable for the proposed use

Community (concessional lease for contiguous land only or market value lease for non-contiguous land)

Your eligibility for a direct sale of land depends on your ability to meet the statutory requirements, which includes:

  • meeting the criteria of a community organisation based on your organisations purpose, incorporation and registration documentation
  • demonstrating financial capacity to undertake the proposed project
  • demonstrating the proposed community benefit and
  • providing a viable business case for your proposal

The non-government educational establishment, community use and supportive accommodation lease types also require you to demonstrate that your organisation is eligible based on its purpose, incorporation and registration documentation.

Commercial (market value lease only)

Land for commercial purposes is usually sold by a competitive process (e.g. auction). There are some exceptional circumstances where an application for the direct sale of land for commercial use can be considered. These include situations where the applicant can do one of the following:

  • demonstrate compliance with statutory eligibility criteria for a lease of contiguous unleased land or
  • provide evidence that the sale would achieve one or more specific grants objectives under the Act

Specific grant objectives include benefiting the economy of the ACT or region; contributing to the environment; introducing new skills, technology or services in the ACT; or facilitating the achievement of a major policy objective.

Are there alternatives to a direct sale?

If you don’t think you can meet the eligibility criteria for a direct sale, there are other options for you to consider. These might include:

  • participating in a public auction - view the Land Release Program
  • renting space in a Government-owned facility - view information about Leasing Government Property
  • renting space in a privately owned facility or
  • co-locating with another organisation

If you choose to apply you will need to:

1. Provide a business case as part of your application

The application explains the information required to develop your business case.

Specific business case criteria are set out in section 101 of the Regulation and apply to certain lease types. Under these regulations, you must demonstrate:

  • you have the financial capacity to develop and manage the land
  • you have the experience, qualifications, expertise and other resources to develop and manage the land
  • your proposed use of the land will meet a genuine need in the community and
  • you don’t have access to other Territory land that could be used for the proposed project

For commercial proposals that do not meet statutory criteria, your business case must demonstrate that your proposal meets one or more grant objectives under the Act and that the grant of a lease by means other than direct sale would not meet the grant objectives to the same extent as a direct sale. Consideration of the benefit to the ACT Community is important and inherent in this regard.

2. Provide an indication of the lease type you are seeking

Statutory eligibility criteria exist for several lease types, including:

  • non-government educational establishments, in accordance with section 108 of the Regulation
  • supportive accommodation, in accordance with section 113 of the Regulation
  • contiguous land (land adjoining the applicant’s existing lease):
    • public land, in accordance with section 110 of the Regulation
    • land that is not public land, in accordance with section 122 of the Regulation

Government directorates

All ACT Government directorates are required to seek the acquisition of land through the direct sale process. This process ensures the allocation of Territory land is transparent. Directorates must demonstrate through the application process how the proposed acquisition of land meets the relevant criteria, which include:

  • the land is suitable for the proposed use and
  • an amount has been appropriated to develop and manage the land

Funding for government land proposals is normally acquired through the government budgetary processes.

Community organisations

Non -contiguous land – market value lease only

You must demonstrate through your application how your proposed use of the land meets the relevant stated criteria. Depending on the lease type you are applying for, this may include establishing that the way you propose to use the land will:

  • be consistent with or promote relevant ACT or Commonwealth government policies
  • meet a need for specific services in the community and
  • benefit a disadvantaged group in the community

The non-government educational establishment, community use and supportive accommodation lease types also require you to demonstrate that your organisation is eligible based on its purpose, incorporation and registration documentation.

Contiguous land

You must be able to demonstrate that the land would not be viable for a competitive sale because of its size, location or configuration., and You must also be able to explain how your proposal maintains or enhances the amenity of the surrounding area and promotes better land management.

Commercial organisations

Contiguous land

You must be able to demonstrate that the land would not be viable for a competitive sale because of its size, location or configuration. You must also be able to explain how your proposal maintains or enhances the amenity of the surrounding area and promotes better land management.

Non-contiguous land

In some exceptional circumstances, the Government will agree to a direct sale of land to the commercial sector where the proposal demonstrates a compelling benefit to the ACT in terms of community service, economic development, environmental improvement or a contribution to the achievement of a key Government objective.

The direct sale application forms are designed to ensure you provide all the information, including relevant supporting documentation, required to assess whether you’re eligible to be considered for a direct sale of land.

Maps and land information

Direct Sale Step 2: Download the correct Eligibility Application

Several types of statutory eligibility criteria exist, but the information on this page is specific only to those listed below:

  • Non-government educational establishments, in accordance with section 108 of the Regulation
  • Community use, in accordance with section 112 of the Regulation
  • Supportive accommodation, in accordance with section 113 of the Regulation
  • Territory entities, in accordance with section 106 or 121 of the Regulation
  • Contiguous land
    • Contiguous land that is public land, in accordance with section 110 of the Regulation
    • Contiguous land that is not public land, in accordance with section 122 of the Regulation

Review the eligibility criteria

There are three distinct applications for the direct sale of land eligibility: one for government entities, one for the community sector, and one for commercial entities. All versions capture the information required for contiguous land. Some, as in Step 1, are contiguous.

Answer the following questions in the order in which they are presented to determine which application is right for you.

Government (Territory, Territory Entity and Commonwealth Entity)

  1. Is the organisation a territory entity:
    • a territory authority
    • a territory instrumentality or
    • a territory-owned corporation?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale Eligibility Application - Government form

Non-government educational establishments

A market value lease can be considered for the steps below. For a concessional lease please see Concessional community use land.

  1. Is your organisation a registered non-government school, i.e. a non-government school that is registered or provisionally registered under part 4.2 of the Education Act 2004?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Community form
    If no, go to the next question.

  2. Is the land for an additional campus for a registered non-government school, i.e. a campus that is registered under section 88B of the Education Act 2004?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Community form
    If no, go to the next question.

  3. Is your organisation registered under the Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Community form
    If no, go to the next question.

  4. Are you authorised to operate a university without contravening section 81 of the Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Community form
    If no, go to the next question.

Community use and supportive accommodation

Only market value leases can be considered for the steps below. For a concessional lease please see Concessional community use land.

  1. Does your organisation hold a club license under the Liquor Act 2010?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Commercial form
    If no, go to the next question.

  2. Does your organisation carry out its services for the financial benefit of its members?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Commercial form
    If no, go to the next question.

  3. Does your organisation provide, as its principal purpose, a service or assistance to people living or working in the ACT?

    If yes, complete the online Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application - Community form
    If no, you are not eligible to submit either application.

Direct Sale Step 3: Develop your business case

As part of your Eligibility Application, you will need to present a business case. To develop your business case, you will need to research issues such as those listed below:

  • Funding sources for your proposed development
  • Community benefits your project will deliver that would not be achieved if the land were sold for the same purpose in a competitive process on the open market
  • Any relevant ACT and Commonwealth Government policies that support your proposed development

Research your business case

The links in this section may help you obtain the information you need to build your business case. This is not a definitive list, but it provides quick access to the types of information that you may need to consider.

Funding

Government Departments

Land and planning data

Maps and land information

  • ACTmapi – ACT land information and interactive mapping service
  • Territory Plan – the key statutory plan for the ACT

Policy

Population trends

Where can I get help?

There are a range of professional organisations that may be able to help you, including:

Direct Sale Step 4 – Complete and submit your application

Make sure your application is complete

Before you submit your Direct Sale of Land Eligibility Application (application), make sure you have:

  • performed any relevant preparatory research
  • completed all required sections of the application form
  • attached all required supporting documentation
  • completed the Statutory Declaration component of the form (the applicant or a person formally authorised to represent the applicant)

When you submit the online application, a copy of the submission will be sent to your nominated email address for your records.

What happens next?

Your application will be reviewed to ensure all the necessary information has been received. You will receive an acknowledgement of this prior to your application being considered by the Direct Sale Panel.

More information

Contact the Direct Sales team by phoning Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or email EPSDD.DirectSaleApplications@act.gov.au.