This policy explains how schools can enter community joint use agreements (CJUAs) for the construction and ongoing management of jointly used community facilities such as stadiums, sporting grounds and theatres.
- Schools are strongly encouraged to share and develop their facilities in partnership with local government and community organisations. CJUAs can enable this by facilitating the construction and ongoing management of shared facilities that benefit both schools and their local communities.
- A CJUA is a formal written agreement between the Minister for Education (or delegate), a school council and a community partner regarding the construction and the ongoing management of shared facilities that are located on school land or land owned or managed by the community partner. CJUAs can also apply to existing facilities that are being upgraded.
- Schools cannot enter into a CJUA without approval from the Minister for Education (or delegate), and any construction works on school land must also be approved by the department.
- CJUAs are long-term shared use agreements. The shared use period of a CJUA is typically set at 20 to 30 years following the initial construction or upgrade of the facility.
- Schools seeking to enter into a CJUA must first contact the Victorian School Building Authority by email at or by phone on .
Overview of community joint use agreements
The department supports innovative partnerships between schools and communities, working together to build and share new facilities such as stadiums, sporting grounds and theatres. CJUAs facilitate such partnerships by providing a legal framework for the sharing of resources between the department and a community partner to construct a new facility and manage the ongoing operation and costs. The shared facility may be on school land or land owned or managed by the community partner.
Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic), school councils may enter into a CJUA with a community partner such as a local government authority or not-for-profit community-based entity. A CJUA is a legally binding agreement which sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party, minimises risk and creates certainty for all parties of the agreement.
CJUAs have 2 major components:
- the construction or modernisation of a facility, including financing, designing and tendering
- the joint management and use of a facility, including:
- who is responsible for the management and operation of the facility once completed
- who is responsible for short- and long-term maintenance of the facility
- who is responsible for obtaining all relevant planning permits (including after-hours access)
- who is responsible for the income to cover ongoing operating costs, including facility maintenance and insurance, the terms and conditions of hire and hire fees.
Generally, CJUA facilities that are classified as outside area allocation will not receive an allowance for cleaning and maintenance. This means that the school receives no funding from the department for cleaning, maintenance or future expenses to upgrade or refurbish the buildings.
It is important that all parties recognise the requirement to be able to fund the costs of operating the facility. The school council and community partner need to agree how they will fund these costs prior to a CJUA being drafted. Funds may be generated by hiring the facility or be contributed by the community partner, school council or an agreed mix between the parties. Most facilities are not entirely self-funding, so the parties will usually need to contribute to a portion of these costs.
Expenditure on lifecycle costs (including maintenance and operational costs, such as cleaning and utilities) should be proportional to each party’s use of the facility. For example, schools and community partners with equal use of a CJUA facility should equally contribute the lifecycle costs associated with the facility.
Revenue generated by hiring the facility should not exceed expenditure on lifecycle costs associated with the facility (that is, schools and community partners should not operate CJAU facilities for profit).
Schools are encouraged to review ongoing arrangements as needed to ensure all parties are meeting their obligations.
Entering into a community joint use agreement
Contact the Victorian School Building Authority for advice and support
Schools seeking to enter a CJUA must first contact the Victorian School Building Authority by email at or by phone on . This is because all CJUAs must be approved by the Minister for Education via the VSBA’s Property Unit. The Minister for Education (or delegate) is required to sign CJUAs and the department is also required to authorise the construction of new facilities on school land.
CJUAs are commonly quite detailed due to the complexity of the partnerships involved and the fact that the agreement usually includes the construction/upgrade of facilities. Please refer to the for more information about the subsequent steps involved in entering into a CJUA.
Hire and licence agreements
Schools can also share their facilities with the wider community through shorter-term hire or licence agreements:
- hire agreements are for occasional or one-off hire of school facilities
- licence agreements are for regular use of school facilities.
Reviewed 16 November 2022