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Notifications and exclusion period variations
A more detailed map showing the WPA and access zone boundaries is available from the South Australian Resources Information Geoserver site at: https://map.sarig.sa.gov.au/.
You are encouraged to regularly review the exclusion period information published on the WPA Coordination Office website at: http://www.defence.gov.au/woomera.
2018 review of the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) Coexistence Framework
WPA Green Zone Management: free resources-focused workshop
The Department of Defence and the South Australian Government are planning to hold a series of workshops to explore the feasibility of a more flexible grid-based arrangement for the WPA green zone, one of the recommendations outlined in the Coexistence in the Woomera Prohibited Area: 2018 Review (refer to pages 40 to 43 of the full report PDF 5.4 MB)
The first workshop was held in Adelaide on 19 June 2019. This presented an opportunity for informal conversation with members of the resources industry and other WPA stakeholders about some of the key themes, issues or concerns of the resources sector that will be relevant to the development of this flexible grid-based arrangement through a 'collaborative co-design process'.
About the review
On 29 March 2019 the Australian Government announced its response to the review into coexistence arrangements in the Woomera Prohibited Area. The Government supports the findings and recommendations of the Review to ensure WPA coexistence arrangements remain fit for purpose over the coming years.
The review consulted extensively with a range of stakeholders and considered whether the coexistence framework that balances Defence use with the needs of other users is fit-for-purpose for today’s environment and into the future.
The 12 recommendations made by the review reflect the enduring critical importance of the Woomera Prohibited Area to national security, while also recognising the considerable value the area holds for Aboriginal cultural heritage, mineral resources, pastoral operations, environmental research and other scientific activity.
More information about the review can be found on the Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office website
Woomera Prohibited Area
The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) covers an area of 122,188 square kilometres approximately 450km NNW of Adelaide. The WPA is a globally unique military testing range and a key asset in Defence capability development. The WPA is also an area of potential economic importance in terms of its natural resources – and some mining is already conducted in the WPA. The Government favours multiple land use in the WPA to the maximum extent possible.
The WPA has been declared a Prohibited Area under Part VII of the Defence Force Regulations and is used for 'the testing of war material' under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force.
In 2011 a joint Australian Government - South Australian Government WPA Coordination Office (WPACO) was established to administer non-Defence use of the WPA, including the develoment of new management framework arrangements that support co-existence between Defence and non-Defence users within the WPA.
In August 2014 the new statutory access regime for new non-Defence users in the WPA came into force with the passage of the Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Act 2014 by the Australian Parliament. It amends the Defence Act 1903 (Cwth) by inserting Part VIB of the Defence Act and sets out a permit system, the access management zones with defined exclusion periods, new compliance and enforcement measures, compensation, and a process for review of decisions. The administrative details of the new statutory permit system are contained in the WPA Rule 2014.
Note that the new permit system to access the WPA applies to new non-Defence users including resource exploration and mining companies, opal miners, tourists and environmental/research organisations. Existing miners, pastoralists, Aboriginal persons and traditional owners are defined as existing users whose access will continue to be governed by the Defence Regulations 2016.
Under new management framework arrangements within the WPA, Defence remains the primary user of the area. The WPA has been divided into Green, Amber and Red access zones, each offering different levels of access or time share to non-Defence users.
A detailed map, including licence overlays and GIS data is available from the South Australian Resources Information Geoserver (SARIG).
Green – Infrequent Defence Use
Non-Defence users may be required to evacuate up to an annual cap of 56 days, in blocks of 7 days duration. Non-Defence users may not need to be evacuated during the course of the year, depending on the frequency and type of testing being conducted in the Green access zone.
Users who are resident in the WPA will be given a minimum of 6 months notice of any evacuation periods. Users who do not have a permanent presence in the WPA will be given no less than 14 days notice.
Amber - Periodic Defence Use
Non-Defence users may be required to evacuate the Amber access zone completely, in blocks of 7 days duration, for 140 days per year in the south-eastern area of the WPA (Defence Periodic User Zone 1) and 70 days per year in the corridor (Defence Periodic User Zone 2). Complete evacuation means no non-defence personnel and activity on the site.
Non-Defence users in the Amber access zone will be notified of the evacuation windows for the coming financial year every March. This is to assist commercial planning by providing a clear indication of when non-Defence users will and will not be able to access the WPA.
Red – Continuous Defence Use
The frequency of Defence use of the Red access zone, the associated safety and security requirements, and the complexity of managing use, means that no additional non-Defence users will be admitted to the Red access zone.
The one exception will be geological survey conducted by the South Australian Government in collaboration with Commonwealth government agencies.
The Amber Zone exclusion periods are published in March of each year showing the access restrictions which apply during the following financial year (i.e. 1 July to 30 June).
Restrictions that may take place in parts of the Green Zone are notified at least 6 months in advance for resource production permit holders and a minimum of 21 days prior to the activity for all other users.
More information: www.defence.gov.au/woomera/exclusionperiods.htm
Defence’s exclusion periods are also published on the Federal Register of Legislation at: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019L00323
Exclusion periods financial year 2019–20
Amber Zone 1 South-Eastern Corner (Defence Periodic Use Zone 1)
- 2 September to 13 October 2019 inclusive
- 25 November to 15 December 2019 inclusive
- 3 March to 4 May 2020 inclusive
Amber Zone 2 Centre-line Corridor (Defence Periodic Use Zone 2)
- 2 September to 29 September 2019 inclusive
- 26 November to 9 December 2019 inclusive
- 3 March to 30 March 2020 inclusive
Note: The Amber zone includes sections of the Anne Beadell Highway
Public right of access
Separate to the Green, Amber and Red access zones, there is a public right of access to the north-south railway and the Stuart Highway through the WPA. This access is subject to Defence closing the railway and highway when required.
Procedure for entry into the WPA
Access to the WPA for exploration and mining is governed by a permit issued by the Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO)
Companies seeking access for exploration activities to the WPA must:
- Hold a licence or lease issued by the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining.
- Obtain a Resource Exploration Access Permit (Form W001) or Resource Production Access (Mining) Permit (Form W002).
- Ensure that all persons entering the WPA under the permit hold an Approved Person Status (Form W003) or are an Escorted Person (W004).
- Request access permission for each instance of access to the WPA using the Access Form (W007).
Applicable forms can be downloaded from Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO)
Woomera Restricted Airspace (WRX) - new spatial layer available on SARIG
The WRX layer available from the South Australian Resources Information Gateway shows the restricted airspace above the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) and forms part of the RAAF Woomera Test Range (WTR). The layer is a helpful tool when planning to conduct airborne surveys and other airspace-related activities over the WPA.
The layer is divided into individual Restricted Areas (blocks). One or a combination of Restricted Areas can be activated (i.e. airspace above that portion of the WPA becomes restricted) when testing of war material is taking place during an exclusion period.
For more information about the WRX contact WTR on +61 8 8674 3370.
Further information contacts
Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO)
|Phone:||1300 727 420|
|International: ||+612 6265 4448|
|Fax: ||(02) 6265 5878 |
WPA Coordination Office
Department of Defence
PO Box 7901
Canberra ACT 2610
Woomera Test Range Operations Office
|Phone:||08 8674 3370|
|International:||+618 8674 3370|
|Fax:||(08) 8674 3217|
|Address:||Woomera Test Range|
PO Box 157
Wommera SA 5720