Crown land (also royal domain or demesne) is an area belonging to the monarch ("the Crown"), the equivalent of an entailed estate that passed with the monarchy and could not be alienated from it. Today, in Commonwealth realms such as Canada and Australia, the term is used to refer to public land.
In Britain, the hereditary revenues of Crown lands provided income for the monarch until the start of the reign of George III when the Crown Estate was surrendered to the Parliament of Great Britain in return for a fixed civil list payment – the monarch retains the income from the Duchy of Lancaster.
In Australia, public lands are referred to as Crown land. Public lands includes land set aside for nature conservation and various government or public purposes, as well as vacant land. Public lands comprise around 23% of Australian land, of which the largest single category is vacant land, comprising 12.5% of the land.
〔(Land Tenure at Geoscience Australia )〕
Crown land is held in the 'right of the Crown' of either an individual State or the Commonwealth of Australia; there is not a single 'Crown' (as a legal governmental entity) in Australia (see The Crown). Various States have differing policies towards the sale and use of Crown lands within the State; for instance, New South Wales passed a controversial reform in 2005 requiring Crown lands to be rated at market value.〔(Crown land rent changes spark concerns for clubs ), ABC News, 10 November 2005〕
Crown land is used for such things as airports (Commonwealth) and public utilities (usually State).
In Tasmania, Crown land is managed under the (Crown Lands Act 1976 ). In South Australia, the relevant Act is the (Crown Land Management Act 2009 ). In Victoria, it is the ''Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978'' and the ''Land Act 1958''.
Most public lands in Australia are held by the Crown in the right of each State. The only crown land held by the Commonwealth consists of land in the Northern Territory (surrendered by South Australia), the Australian Capital Territory, and small areas acquired for airports, defence and other government purposes.
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