Surrender of Oyster Lease Information Kit
When is a surrender of an oyster lease required?
An application to surrender or part-surrender an oyster lease is required when the lessee intends to relinquish the lease title or part of the lease area to the State.
When can an oyster lease be surrendered?
A lease can be surrendered at any time during the currency of the lease. The success of the application depends on whether the applicant can satisfy the requirements of the surrender process.
Is there a surrender application fee?
The NSW Oyster Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy (OISAS) was gazetted on 8 December 2006 and provided an amnesty on the application fee for the surrender of whole oyster leases for a period of five years.
The prescribed application fee however still applies to applications for the part surrender of an oyster lease (see fee schedule).
How is an application duly made to surrender an oyster lease?
A surrender or part-surrender requires the completion of a surrender application form by the lessee/s. This involves filling out every section of the form in clear and legible print and ensuring all lessees sign the form. This is important where there is more than one lessee. An incomplete application form will result in the application being rejected.
- Attach the original lease documents. The application will be rejected if the lease documents are not supplied with the application form. If the lease deeds have been lost or destroyed, the statutory declaration on the application form must be completed, and replacement documents applied for with replacement fee (see fee schedule). This is required for both part and full surrender to help ensure old deeds are not misappropriated.
- Submit all payments with the application. The applicant must submit the processing fee and any other payment required with the application. If payment is made at a local office of NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), a copy of the receipt must be attached to the application. Any overdue account matters relating to the relevant aquaculture account should be settled prior to an application being lodged.
- A part surrender application must be accompanied by a copy of the lease plan that clearly shows the part of the lease area to be surrendered and the part to remain current. The department will advise you when you are required to engage a registered surveyor and submit an approved survey (see: “What is an approved survey?”).
What condition does the lease need to be in for surrender?
For part surrender, the area to be surrendered must be free of all improvements (including cultivation materials, lease markings and structures) to be suitable for return to public water land.
For full surrender, the entire lease area must be free of all improvements (including cultivation materials, lease markings and structures) to be suitable for return to public water land. If however, you believe that a structure(s) on the lease area is held under a Crown land lease, or other form of tenure you will be required to submit evidence of the approval with the application or contact the Aquaculture Branch to discuss.
If the area being surrendered is not in a suitable condition for return to public water land please provide full details to Question 3 on the application form.
What is an approved survey?
All aquaculture leases in NSW are mapped by the differential global positioning system (DGPS). To enable a part surrendered lease to be recognised under this system it must be surveyed to DGPS standards. A new survey must be obtained at the expense of the applicant. For further information on Aquaculture Lease Surveys please refer to Specifications for Surveyors or alternatively, contact Aquaculture Administration on 02 4982 1232.
Does the lease need to be inspected prior to lodging a surrender application?
An inspection will be organised by NSW DPI after the application has been lodged with the department, and accepted as “duly made”. Before submitting an application to surrender, lessees should ensure that the area to be surrendered is free of all improvements (including cultivation material, lease markings and structures). If an area is found to be unsuitable for surrender the application may be refused.
How can the processing fee be paid?
There are several methods available for the payment of fees.
- Submit a cheque or money order with your application, made payable to Department of Trade & Investment.
- Pay at any office of NSW DPI using the methods available there and attach the receipt to the application.
- Complete the credit card section on the application form to make payment by credit card.
Is the processing fee refunded if the application is withdrawn or refused?
If an application to surrender an aquaculture lease is withdrawn or refused, the Minister is not required to refund the application fee. The Minister may, however, waive or refund the whole or part of the fee in such circumstances, as the Minister considers appropriate.
What happens after an application is submitted?
When the application is submitted to NSW DPI it is checked to ensure the applicant has addressed all matters relating to the application. If anything is missing or outstanding, the application will be rejected and sent back to the applicant for further action.
If all matters are in order, NSW DPI accepts the application as being duly made and the lease is marked to a status of 'pending surrender' and lease fees (including rent and research levy) attributable to the lease are suspended. It should be noted however that while a lease has a status of ‘pending surrender’ lease security arrangements still apply. An inspection of the area to be surrendered is undertaken by the local Fisheries Officer, to assess its suitability for return to public water land. If the area has been returned to a natural state (i.e. removal of all improvements (including cultivation materials, lease markings and structures), the surrender is accepted and the lessee informed in writing.
For part surrenders, the applicant submits with the application a copy of the lease plan that clearly shows the part of the lease area to be surrendered and the part to remain current. As the application progresses the department will advise the applicant to engage a registered surveyor and submit an approved survey. When the new survey lease plan is accepted and confirmation has been received from the local Fisheries Officer that the area to be surrendered is free of all improvements (including cultivation materials, lease markings and structures) the part-surrender is approved. NSW DPI amends both the original and duplicate lease deeds to reflect the new dimensions and area of the lease.
The lessee is then sent the endorsed original deeds, new plan and amended aquaculture permit, which reflects the new dimensions of the lease. Annual rent payable is re-determined based on the new lease area.
This checklist will help you to lodge a successful application. Tick each box as you go through. Contact us on 02 4982 1232 for further information.
- Has the applicant completed every section of the application form including signatures of all lessees?
- If relevant, is the part surrender processing fee or receipt of such fee, or credit card details supplied with the application?
- Does a copy of the lease plan that clearly shows the part of the lease area to be surrendered and the part to remain accompany the application? (part surrender only)
- Have any outstanding account matters been settled prior to the lodgement of the surrender application?
- Is the surrendered area in a suitable condition for return to public water land? If not, provide all details and copies of any relevant approvals.
- Are the lease documents attached, or statutory declaration for lost or destroyed documents completed and replacement fee submitted with the surrender application?
- If a mortgage or other interest is noted on the lease documents, has the written consent of the mortgagee or other party been submitted with the application?