Pastoral land permits for other uses

Pastoral lessees seeking to carry out any other activity on the lease other than the primary pastoral use of grazing native vegetation with authorised stock.
Last updated: 3 July 2023

Permits can only be issued on approval from the Pastoral Lands Board to pastoral lessees seeking to carry out any other activity on the lease other than the primary pastoral use of grazing native vegetation with authorised stock.

Permits are not transferable to a third party and if the pastoral lease is sold, the Permit cannot be transferred to the new lessee. However, it may be possible for the new lessee to apply for a new permit for the same activity.

If you are considering an activity on pastoral land, refer to the Pastoral Purpose Framework for information on activities which can occur on pastoral land. 

Types of permits

Two types of Permits may be issued by the Pastoral Lands Board to the pastoral lease holder under the following sections of the Land Administration Act 1997, these being a Pastoral use permit or Non-pastoral use permit.

Pastoral use permit

Section of Land Administration Act 1997 Description
s.118 Clearing of specified trees or scrub Permit to clear specified trees or a specified area of scrub or other vegetation to promote the growth of indigenous pasture or otherwise facilitating or improving the working of the lease.
s.119 Sowing of non-indigenous pastures For the lessee to sow and cultivate specific varieties of non indigenous pasture on specified land area(s) under the lease. A permit under this section may include a permit for the sale of any produce of the pasture permitted. Please note: an approved pasture species list has been developed and pastoral lessees should contact their local Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development rangelands office for plant species advice prior to developing a Permit application.
s.120 Agricultural uses of land under a lease For the lessee to use specified land under the lease for crop, fodder, horticultural or other specified kind of agricultural production if the proposed use is reasonably related to the pastoral use of the land.
s.121 Low-key pastoral-based tourism To allow the pastoral lessee to use specific land area(s) for pastoral-based tourist activities of a specified kind if the activities will be purely supplementary to the pastoral use of the lease.
s.122A Keep or sell prohibited stock

To keep prohibited stock on the land under a pastoral lease and/or sell prohibited stock. Prohibited stock are those classes of animals not ‘authorised’

Authorised stock are controlled livestock managed according to industry codes of practice for husbandry and identification prescribed as:  

  • Sheep (ovis aries)
  • Cattle (bos indicus, bos Taurus;
  • Horses (equus caballas;
  • Goats (capra hircus);
  • Stock kept for domestic or household use

Non-pastoral use permit

Section of Land Administration Act 1997 Description
Non-pastoral use of enclosed and improved land
The use of specified land under the lease for any non-pastoral purposes if the land has been enclosed or improved. An application must specify the use proposed, any facility proposed to be constructed, and the areas of land proposed to be used.

Proposals to expand/amend permit activity

Should the lessee wish to change the size, location or nature of the activity (including using different plant species for crop and pasture Permit activities), they must contact the department to discuss the process for obtaining a new permit. Failure to do so may result in the issue of a Default Notice which may result in a fine and/or forfeiture of the pastoral lease.

A permit is not issued unless the pastoral lessee has acknowledged in writing the conditions of permit.

Annual returns/permit rent

The standard pastoral lease annual rental is for the right to graze the native vegetation. As permit activities are additional to this, they may incur additional permit annual rental. Any additional permit annual rental is calculated by Valuer Generals Office at Landgate and charged separately to the standard annual pastoral lease rental.

A section of the Annual Return of Livestock and Improvements submitted by the pastoral lessee by 31 December of each year, requires information about permit activities. Specifically, information on expenditure, income derived and, in the case of low-key tourism permits, numbers of guests. 

Permit application and assessment process

The current Land Administration Act 1997 (WA) permit application assessment process 4-6 months with exceptions depending on the complexity of the permit proposal. 

This period includes the following stages:

  1. Liaison with lessee on the submitted permit application quality, additional information if required and preparing documents for referral – up to 28 days depending on the lessee's availability.
  2. Referral of Permit application and draft conditions of Permit, to government agencies – 42 days set timeframe (response by the lessee on the draft Permit conditions is included in this timeframe).
  3. Compilation of agency and lessee responses – up to 14 days (may require further liaison with agencies or lessee to clarify feedback received).
  4. Presentation to the Pastoral Lands Board – up to 28 days (depending on sitting of the Board or the earliest an Out-of-Session Board teleconference).
  5. Post Board decision meeting – document preparation – up to 14 days.
  6. Offer of a permit and Conditions to the pastoral lessee requiring the lessee to accept, sign and return to Pastoral Approvals, within the Rangelands and Board Support Team–up to 28 days (dependent on lessee’s response time).
  7. If the lessee accepts the offer of a permit and the conditions, the permit is issued.

As such the total period for the permit application assessment and issuing if approved by the Pastoral Lands Board, could be up to 22 weeks dependent on: 

  • The quality and completeness of the Permit application submitted by the lessee;
  • The complexity of the Permit proposal; and
  • The response timeframes by both the lessee and agencies during the process.

Where native title rights exist or may exist over the pastoral lease, the grant of the permit will be subject to the future act requirements of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwth).

Government approvals required

Section 117 of the Land Administration Act 1997 stipulates that the Pastoral Lands Board is not to issue a permit unless environmental conservation requirements are satisfied.

As such there is a requirement that any additional government approvals that may be required for the proposed activity, must also be secured by the pastoral lease holder prior to commencement of an activity permitted by the Pastoral Lands Board. These additional government approvals often include but are not limited to:

Planning and/or construction approval

Local government authority approval(s) may be required where a permit application involves:

  • building construction or addition to an existing building
  • creation of a new supplementary business
  • preparation of food for the public
  • creation of additional waste.

Failure to do so may result in penalties applied under local By-Laws. Find contact details about your Local Government Authority via the Western Australian Local Government Association website.

Permit to clear leased land and/or remove native vegetation

If the application involves clearing a portion of land of greater than one hectare, a clearing permit is required from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).

There are substantial penalties under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 for clearing land without a permit. 

For more information contact the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

Licence for water allocation and/or extraction

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) grants licences to take water under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914. Licence applications are required to take water, interfere with bed and banks of a watercourse, or construct a well. In granting licences, consideration is given to both the short and long-term economic, environmental and social impacts.
For more information contact Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

Diversification application permit form