Non-pastoral use of pastoral land

Non-pastoral use (NPU) permits let you use part of your pastoral lease to create alternative streams of revenue.

If you're a pastoral lessee, you can apply for permits to use part of your lease for certain activities.

To check which activities require a permit, call 08 8999 4454 or email

An NPU permit can be:

  • approved for up to 30 years
  • renewed up to 2 years before permit expiry
  • renewed for up to 30 years
  • transferred with the sale or transfer of the pastoral lease.

Who can approve a permit

Pastoral lessees holding an NPU permit can apply to the relevant minister to sublease the NPU area. A sublease can be registered on title and is transferable at sale.

Applications for an NPU permit are determined by the Pastoral Land Board (PLB) in line with the Pastoral Land Act 1992.

Land Development Corporation (LDC) coordinates the assessment process on behalf of the PLB.

They can provide information about how to apply. To find out more, go to the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security website.

Before you apply

Before you apply for a permit, you should read the Northern Territory non-pastoral use guidelines.

Northern Territory non-pastoral use guidelines PDF (783.6 KB)
Northern Territory non-pastoral use guidelines DOCX (106.5 KB)

These guidelines will tell you:

  • when you need an NPU permit
  • when you don't need an NPU permit - for example, pastoral purposes
  • the assessment process
  • matters the PLB must consider when determining your application.


Assessment of an NPU application will take approximately 6 months.

If your proposed NPU activity requires clearing of native vegetation and/or is for an irrigated land use, you must apply for a:

  • pastoral land clearing (PLC) permit
  • water extraction licence (WEL).

If you have an existing PLC permit, you may need to apply to vary it.

For simple proposals, you can lodge the following applications at the same time:

  • PLC
  • NPU
  • WEL.

For complex proposals, you must lodge a WEL first.

For more information, read the timeframes for WEL, PLC and NPU permits flowchart PDF (3.3 MB).

How to apply

To apply for an NPU permit, follow these steps:

Step 1. Discuss your proposal with LDC and confirm if a permit is needed.

Step 2. Fill in the:

Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Step 3. Prepare other supporting items including field and spatial data - for example, shapefile of the proposed NPU extent.

Step 4. Submit your application, form and supporting information through Development Applications Online.

LDC will do a pre-lodgement review.

Step 5. When you receive confirmation that your application and form are ready to be formally lodged, you must:

  • pay the fee
  • forward confirmation of payment to the LDC.

The steps in the NPU application assessment process are also outlined in the NPU application assessment process flowchart PDF (242.9 KB).

Permit variation

You may be able to apply for a variation to an existing NPU permit.

Contact the LDC for advice.

More information

Find out more about soil, land and vegetation mapping or go to NR Maps.

To read more about crop types and potential markets, go to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade website.

To make a submission regarding a proposed non-pastoral use permit currently on exhibition, go to Development Applications Online.


For more information about non-pastoral use, contact LDC by calling 08 8999 4454 or emailing

Last updated: 16 September 2022

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