Paper Subdivisions

As of 1 December 2021, a reference to an Environment Protection zone E1, E2, E3 or E4 in a document should be taken to be a reference to a Conservation zone C1, C2, C3 or C4. For further information please view Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Amendment (Land Use Zones) Order 2021.

Paper subdivisions are historical subdivisions that were approved on paper but generally lack formed roads, drainage, reticulated water, sewer or electricity, and in most cases are not zoned for development.

Shoalhaven’s Paper Subdivisions

Events that created and impacted Shoalhaven’s Paper Subdivisions and their zoning.


  • Canberra selected as our national capital and Jervis Bay nominated its maritime outlet


  • These events triggered a significant increase in subdivisions in the Jervis Bay area

Early 1930’s (The Great Depression 1929-1939)

  • Thousands of paper subdivision lots created in approved plans but remained undeveloped and without services


  • Land use zoning is first introduced
  • Many paper subdivisions zoned ‘rural’ generally prevented the development of individual lots

Mid 1980’s-early 1990’s

  • Controversial sale of some paper subdivisions to individual owners (e.g. by Heritage Real Estate Pty Ltd)
  • Council initiated rezoning investigations in response to requests by owners

Area specific rezoning investigations

Learn the current and previous zoning status of these estates.

Special rates charges

Council’s decisions to investigate rezoning these paper subdivisions were conditional on the owners paying for rezoning investigations and for infrastructure and services if the land is rezoned.

Special rates were levied in the following Estates to fund rezoning investigations and in some cases, road upgrades:

  • Heritage Estates
  • Jerberra Estate
  • Nebraska Estate
  • Verons Estate

A summary of special rates expenditure is updated quarterly and can be viewed at:

Transfer of land in lieu of unpaid rates

If requested by the owner, Council may accept the transfer of land within 'paper subdivisions' in lieu of unpaid rates in accordance with Council's policy:

In this circumstance, Council will meet all legal costs associated with the transfer of the land.

Debt recovery action

Where property owners are subject to debt recovery action, land owners will have 30 days to agree to a repayment schedule or transfer of the land to Council.

Alternatively, under S.713 of the Local Government Act, 1993 Council may move to sell the land by public auction where rates and charges have been unpaid for more than five years.