The Cultana Training Area (CUTA) is the largest training area of the Department of Defence (Defence) in South Australia capable of supporting full combined arms exercises. It is located approximately 370 km northwest of Adelaide in the Upper Spencer Gulf between Port Augusta and Whyalla. It consists of the original Commonwealth-owned Cultana Training Area (CTA) and the Cultana Training Expansion Area (CEA). It has been declared a Defence Practice Area (PDF 1.4 MB) pursuant to regulation 58 of Defence Regulation 2016.

The CUTA is primarily used for Defence training activities or Defence operations such as:

  • combined arms manoeuvring training
  • live firing of ammunition, including small arms, field and medium artillery weapons and air-delivered weapons
  • air mobile and airborne operations including air to ground live firing
  • unmanned aerial system training activities, and/or
  • electronic warfare training activities.

Cultana Training Area large map

Map showing Cultana training area

The CEA and the Miscellaneous Lease for Defence Purposes No. 53500

The Miscellaneous Lease for Defence Purposes No. 53500 (MLDP) is a Crown Lease issued and granted by South Australia to the Commonwealth through the Department of Defence over the CEA and commenced on 20 June 2014.  The lease is for a term of 75 years with an option for a further term of 25 years.

The MLDP provides that other interests, rights and authorities under South Australian legislation continue to apply over the CEA, including interests for mineral resources and energy resources. It provides that the state will need to consult with Defence prior to granting any new interest under the Mining Act 1971 (SA) and other resource-related state legislation.

More information about the CEA can be found on the Defence website:

Procedure for entry

Companies seeking access to the CUTA for exploration or mining activities must:

  • hold a mining tenement issued by the Government of South Australia
  • enter into a Deed of Access with the Australian Government, and
  • request access permission for each exploration activity in the CUTA through the Cultana Training Area Range Control Office.

It should be noted that Defence is the landowner of the CUTA by law and by operation of the MLDP.  For this reason early consultation with Defence prior to lodging an application for any exploration or mining tenement in the CUTA is highly advisable.

Application for a Deed of Access

Approval of application is dependent upon the receipt of all necessary documentation and an assessment of the impact on Defence activities.

  • Access to the original CTA (Commonwealth-owned) requires an application to be submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Finance (Finance).

    Finance can provide an application package to prospective applicants on request. The package is a guide only and includes guidance notes on the type and range of information required, and other technical documents that the Commonwealth requires to enable consideration of the application.

    Details of how to submit an application can be found at

  • Access to the CEA (Commonwealth-leased) is managed by Defence rather than by Finance. Any requests to access the CEA should be sent to the Defence (Canberra) contact below.  Defence is also able to provide an application package on request.

    If the request for access is approved, the company/tenement holder will be required to enter into a Deed of Access with Defence.

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