Inquiries into the future use of public land are conducted under the Public Land (Administration and Forests) Act 1991. The Minister responsible for Planning and Local Government directs the Commission to undertake an inquiry under this Act.

The Minister begins the process with a detailed request to the Commission to investigate and make recommendations for the use of any public land.

The Commission makes the request publicly available and seeks comments on that request. The Commission appoints a panel to assess the inquiry.

As part of each inquiry, the Commission may form an expert panel, and then prepares a background report, which describes all the known environmental, social, economic, industrial and recreational resources of the public land being investigated. The Commission then invites comments on the background report and prepares a draft recommendations report. This contains any extra information brought up during the public consultation process, the Commission's response to the issues raised and the Commission's draft recommendations. If necessary, the Commission may also produce an interim report.

The Commission may hold hearings as part of the process.

The final recommendations report is presented to the Minister, who tables it in both Houses of Parliament and makes copies publicly available.

Any recommendations for the formal reservation of public land are undertaken later as separate processes in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

How can I comment?

Comments in writing may be made in response to the terms of reference; background report and draft recommendations report.

There is also an opportunity to make a presentation at a Commission hearing if one is held.

Non-statutory review processes

Sometimes the Government asks the Commission to carry out a non-statutory review or assessment.

These reviews may take a variety of forms but in the past, reviews have followed a similar process to other processes conducted by the Commission.