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Land Use

Servicing the Community

Land Title

Land on Christmas Island is mainly held in one of three types of land tenure:

  1. Crown Land

  2. Freehold Land

  3. Leasehold


Much of the land on Christmas Island is National Park and there are also large areas of unalienated or unallocated crown land. Unallocated crown land essentially means vacant land owned by the Commonwealth that has not been given a purpose or use.


Crown Land

Crown Land is land owned by the Commonwealth and is held as reserved land or alternatively alienated land. Reserved land has been set aside for specific purposes. Eg sewerage, or telecommunications.  Alienated Crown Land is land that has not been provided with freehold title for various uses.

Freehold Land

Often referred to as “green title” land is consistent with title on the mainland. This type of ownership may be as whole ownership or as strata title.


Leasehold covers either specific or time based use of land. Mining leases for example give access to crown land for the purpose of phosphate mining.


Perpetual leases are for a set period of time, usually 99 years and other leases give exclusive use of crown land for a shorter period.

Local Planning Strategy

The draft Christmas Island Local Planning Strategy (LPS) was certified as being consistent with Planning Development Regulations 1967 (WA)(CI) r 12A(3) and approved for advertisement by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) February 2007.


To be consistent with r12A(3), the LPS must set out the long-term planning directions for the local government,  apply State and regional planning policies, and provide the rationale for the zones and other provisions of the Scheme.


Submissions on the draft LPS are sought from residents, community groups and businesses.  Hard and electronic copies of the LPS are available for viewing at the Christmas Island Library. Additionally, the LPS is available at Planning WA.

Planning Approvals

When a planning application is required

All development on Christmas Island requires Council approval under the CI Town Planning Scheme No 2 clause 6.1.1 and the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA)(CI). It is an offence under the Act to proceed with development works without development approval.


‘Development’ includes construction and additions to existing buildings, change of use of a premises,  demolition, home occupation, and works on heritage buildings and  within heritage precincts.  Some exemptions apply.


To apply for development approval, you must complete and submit an ‘Application for Planning Approval’ to the Shire.  Fees apply. 


Making an application to develop land

In order to develop land, in most instances, a planning application is required. This enables the development of land to be checked against the Town Planning Scheme. Development of land must be consistent with the uses for land describe in the Town Plan and conform to planning standards and rules.

To make a planning application it is necessary to complete a planning application form and pay application fees.  Application fees will vary dependant on the value and type of the development proposed. The application and fees must be presented together with full details of the proposed development. The type of information required can range from a written description of the proposed work such as for a change of use through to detailed plans and specifications for major developments.


Land title

Land falls into two main categories – alienated land and Crown land. 


Crown Land is administered under the Land Administration Act 1997 (WA)(CI) and Transfer of Land Act 1893 (WA)(CI) and, when subdivided, is not subject to an approvals process. 


Alienated land is also known as freehold land and is administered under the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (WA)(CI) and the Planning & Development Act 2005 (WA)(CI).  The subdivision of alienated land is subject to an approval process through the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI).  When the boundaries of alienated land are altered in order to create a subdivision, an amalgamation or boundary adjustment, an application for planning approval must first be submitted to the DPI by the proponent.


Strata Subdivision

Alienated land may also be subdivided into strata lots.  Where more than five strata lots are created and the land is greater than 2500m2 in area the application is made to the DPI.  Any application for planning approval that is made to the DPI is referred to the Shire for comment.


Consolidation and or Boundary Adjustments

This type of subdivision follows the same processes as subdivision but either represents consolidation of two or more allotments into lesser allotment numbers or varies the location of a boundary or boundaries between properties.


Making an application to subivide land

Land may be subdivided into smaller parcels, strata titles, consolidation or by boundary adjustment. A formal application must be made which is processed by WA Planning Commission. Council comments on Subdivision applications but does not formally decide applications.


For more information, please contact the Chief Executive Officer on telephone number (08) 9164 8300 ext 235.

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