The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (the NPW Act) provides that land may be reserved as a national park, nature reserve, historic site, state conservation area, regional park, Aboriginal area or karst conservation reserve. Circumstances may arise that require the revocation of land, a change to the reserve category (‘recategorisation’), or an adjustment of boundaries in a reserve.
Lands reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) will generally only be revoked as a last resort and where no other practical options are available. Only the Government (via a Cabinet proposal) and ultimately the NSW Parliament (via an Act of Parliament) can decide if land reserved under the NPW Act can be revoked.
The reasons for requiring a revocation vary but most commonly arise as a result of:
- boundary errors occurring at the time of reservation
- boundary encroachments occurring after reservation
- non-permissible development proposals that require revocation to proceed.
Changing a reserve’s category (‘recategorisation’) generally requires an Act of Parliament. State conservation areas (SCAs) are an exception: an SCA can be changed to a national park or a nature reserve under section 47MA of the NPW Act without an Act of Parliament. A proposal to change a reserve’s category usually results from better knowledge of a reserve’s natural, cultural and historic values and its recreational activities, or consideration of the future strategic directions for the reserve.
Section 188C of the NPW Act enables the boundary of land reserved or acquired under that Act which adjoins a public road to be adjusted to follow the formed path of the road, or to provide an appropriate setback from the formed road. This allows anomalies between ‘paper roads’ and the constructed road to be resolved. It also means that existing essential road infrastructure such as drainage, signage and traffic control devices that fall within a setback from the road can be excluded from the reserved or acquired land.
These adjustments can be made so long as a significant reduction in the size or value of reserved land does not occur.