Ownership of the process
Pursuant to the Administration of Acts General Order authorised by the Premier of Victoria, responsibility for the sale of surplus Crown land rests exclusively with the Assistant Treasurer. The Assistant Treasurer in turn authorises the responsibility for delivering this output to the:
- Deputy Secretary, Commercial Division, or
- Executive Director, Shareholder Advisory Services, or
- Director, Land and Property.
Land and Property (LP) comprises a team of property professionals to deliver this output.
Key legislative and policy framework under which LP operates
The standard process followed by LP for the sale of surplus Crown land is primarily governed by the provisions of the Land Act 1958.
Other legislation impacting this activity may include the:
- Financial Management Act 1994
- Valuation of Land Act 1960
- Transfer of Land Act 1958
- Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978
- Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010
- Environment Protection Act 1970
- Planning and Environment Act 1987
- Heritage Act 2017
- Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth)
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth)
- Victorian Government Landholding Policy and Guidelines August 2015*
- Victorian Government Land Transactions Policy and Guidelines April 2016*
- Victorian Government Strategic Crown Land Assessment Policy and Guidelines April 2016*
- Victorian Government Land Use Policy and Guidelines
*Note: These documents are available in PDF format at dtf.vic.gov.au
Description of the process
The process is tailored for each individual project depending on project requirements and, for Crown land, is broadly covered by the following steps:
- Landholding agency declares Crown land surplus to requirements and refers to LP for sale.
- LP requests the Department of energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) to undertake a Strategic Crown Land Assessment report to determine if there is any Public Land or Native Title implications which requires the Crown land to be retained in Government ownership.
- If DEECA confirms the Crown land is surplus to the State’s public land estate, LP prepares an appropriate sale strategy by public auction, public tender or private treaty.
- If Native Title exists by recognition under State or Federal law, consent must be obtained from the relevant Traditional Owner Group prior to sale.
- LP then canvases any interest in the Crown land by other government agencies, including local government via the State’s First Right of Refusal Process (FROR).
- LP seeks the Assistant Treasurer's “approval in principle” to sell Crown land and authorise the administration of the sale to the Director, Land and Property.
- The Crown land is then prepared for sale pursuant to the provisions of the Land Act 1958. Issues to be considered in this process include survey, valuation, rezoning, environmental, revocation of Crown land reservation (if applicable), etc.
- Determine the appropriate GST status of the transaction.
- Appoint a legal representative from the government legal panel with the approval of DTP Legal.
- Appoint a real estate agent through a competitive tender process to market and sell the Crown land by public auction or public tender, including any post private treaty negotiations.
- Prior to sale, seek the approval of the Victorian Government Land Monitor for any sale greater than $1,000,000 (excluding GST).
- Director, Land and Property approves the reserve price prior to the sale by public auction, public tender or private treaty.
- At least 14 days prior to public sale publish a notice of intention to sell in the Victoria Government Gazette.
- For private treaty sales or sales to a public authority, seek the approval of the Assistant Treasurer and Governor in Council (where applicable).
- Crown land sold by exchange of Contracts of Sale and payment of the deposit.
- On payment of the full purchase price and fees, issue of a Section 39 Receipt pursuant to the Transfer of Land Act 1958, if required by the purchaser.
- On settlement, request the Assistant Treasurer to make a recommendation to the Governor in Council for the issue of a Crown Grant (freehold title) to the Crown land.
- Crown Grant signed and sealed by Governor in Council.
- Crown Grant registered at Land Registry Services and issued to the purchaser.
- If the sale value exceeds $100,000 record summary information on the Government’s Contracts Publishing System website. If the contract exceeds $10,000,000, the Contract of Sale is published in full.
- If sale is on behalf of a Landholding agency, ensure LP costs are recovered from the agency via a tax invoice.
It is noted that the sale of surplus government freehold land is not governed by the provisions of the Land Act 1958.
LP’s primary customer is the Assistant Treasurer, who is charged with delivering the Budgeted Land Sales Target including the sale of surplus Crown land.
Sale proceeds are directed to the State’s Consolidated Fund and are reinvested into important public infrastructure to benefit the community.
The secondary customer is the Landholding agency that refers its surplus Crown land to LP for sale. Until settlement of the sale occurs, the agency is responsible for ongoing holding, maintenance and security costs associated with property ownership.
To successfully deliver the asset sales program, LP engages with several professional service providers including:
- The Office of Valuer General Victoria for real estate valuation advice.
- The Surveyor General Victoria to investigate the land status and conduct a field survey of the land leading to the preparation of a Title Plan to enable the issue of a Crown grant title to the land.
- DEECA to complete Strategic Crown Land Assessments to identify any Public Land Values and Native Title implications for Crown land. DEECA also undertakes the removal of temporary and permanent reservations (the latter by way of an Act of Parliament) over Crown land and the closure of unused government roads, if required, to enable sale to proceed.
- Land Use Victoria to coordinate the FROR process.
- Environmental consultants to investigate asbestos issues, air monitoring, assess land contamination impediments and devise remediation strategies.
- Town Planning consultants (including Council planners and planners within DTP) who provide advice in relation to land rezoning issues, planning overlays and the built-form requirements.
- Consider whether the rezoning of surplus Crown land can be delivered using the Government Land Planning Service.
- Architectural consultants for the preparation of concept plans for high-value Crown land sites.
- Quantity surveying consultants to cost re-development options.
- Real Estate advisory professionals to assess financial feasibilities to determine the marketability of surplus Crown land.
- Real Estate agents to market and sell surplus Crown land.
- Real Estate professionals who may be required to deal with tenancy issues.
- Probity Auditor to scrutinise complex and contentious property transactions.
- Heritage Victoria to provide advice in relation to Crown land assets that are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
- Cultural Heritage consultants for sites that require investigations in relation to indigenous matters and other matters of cultural significance.
- Flora and fauna consultants to investigate sites that may have issues associated with rare and/or endangered species.
- Engineering advice to determine existing building and site conditions and costings associated with redevelopment of the site.
- Demolition advice where the sale strategy calls for the removal of existing structures.
- Traffic Management consultants for Crown land sites affected by complex traffic management issues including site ingress and egress.
- Legal practitioners for the preparation of a Contract of Sale and other contractual matters including Native Title issues arising through the sale process.
- Victorian Government Land Monitor to oversee the sale transaction to ensure compliance with government policy for the sale of surplus government real estate assets when the amount exceeds $1,000,000 (excluding GST).
- Property maintenance contractors including gardeners, plumbers, electricians, painters, cleaners, fencers, arborists etc to prepare the property for sale.
- Aerial photography work to assist with marketing the property for sale.
- Utility service providers including gas, electricity and water.
- Fire service companies to assess the adequacy of existing fire services and work required to ensure the services are compliant with fire regulations.
- Security firms to patrol and secure sites.
- Media firms with respect to providing advice to parties affected by the sale of the Crown land (for example media releases and letter box drops).
Monitoring and reporting
LP has the following systems in place to support its activities:
- A customised property database system known as GLAMS (Government Land Asset Management System), that records land sales transactions and provides reports for management and accounting purposes.
- Monthly reports that track both sales achieved and future sales relevant to individual quarters and over the financial year. These reports link to the department’s output reports.
- Monthly report to the Victorian Government Land Monitor concerning all Crown land private treaty sales.
- The Oracle financial system tracks the revenue received and the expenditure incurred in delivering the sales output.
- The use of a Project Management checklist.
Key measurement targets
- Achieving the budgeted annual Land Sales Target for the sale of surplus land.
- Satisfying client agency expectations.
- Achieving a satisfactory rating from the Assistant Treasurer’s office.
- Internal and external audits produce no negative findings
Communication with customers
During the sale process:
- LP staff directly and regularly engage with stakeholders on a face-to-face basis and via other forms of communication (letters, emails and telephone), to advise on the progress of Crown land sales activities.
- Media releases are used when the sale of properties is likely to be controversial or present a “good news” story for the community.
- Reports are prepared on a monthly basis for dissemination to the Assistant Treasurer, Senior Management and others within the department to advise on progress of the output deliverable.
LP regularly reviews its processes to ensure that it:
- Complies with any changes in legislation impacting on the sale of Crown land.
- Keeps abreast of market trends and conditions impacting on sale activities.
- Remains up to date with industry best practice, particularly as it relates to the management and development of contaminated land sites.
- Complies with government policy directives including the Native Title Settlement Framework.
- Delivers efficiencies through the timely sale of properties to maximise value and to minimise costs.
- Engages consultants best able to deliver the outcome required.
- Shares knowledge across LP to enhance staff skill levels.
- Encourages staff to attend relevant training courses.
- Recommends to government opportunities for improving the timely sale of surplus Crown land.
The process for the sale of surplus Crown land is outlined on the Crown land sales process page.