This website has been established to provide information about the Cultana Expansion Project. This site is updated on a regular basis.
Expansion of the Cultana Training Area is required to support future joint training needs and the capability of 1st Brigade and 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7 RAR) Battle group, which is established at Edinburgh, South Australia. An expanded Cultana Training Area also offers an environment to conduct future air to ground, ground to air and ship to shore training activities.
Defence is expanding the existing Cultana Training Area westward, increasing its total size from approximately 50,000 hectares to approximately 209,300 hectares. This is being achieved through the acquisition of surrounding pastoral leases.
Key activities in the acquisition phase of the project include the development of a Miscellaneous Lease for Defence Purposes (MLDP) with the South Australian Government, the negotiation and registration of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and related agreements with other indigenous groups, and the acquisition of selected pastoral leases. Once these activities have been finalised, the South Australian Government can grant the MLDP and Defence will be able to develop and use the area for training.
In conjunction with these activities, Defence has also conducted a number studies which will contribute to the management and sustainable use of the expanded Cultana Training Area. These have included indigenous cultural heritage surveys, a Public Environment Report (PER), a training area capability board and detailed design for the training area, and the successful negotiations for the use of airspace with Air Services Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The Miscellaneous Lease for Defence Purposes MLDP)
On 4 June 2012, the South Australian Government agreed to the final versions of the ILUA and the MLDP, which will govern the use by Defence of the Cultana Expansion Area.
Under the terms of the MLDP, Defence would control access to the land for a term of 75 years with an option of a further 25 years.
Defence and the State have also agreed the basis for:
The State can grant the MLDP to Defence following the registration of the ILUA.
Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
The proposed expansion area is affected by a registered native title claim by the Barngarla native title group. Other indigenous groups have also expressed a cultural heritage interest over the expansion area.
All indigenous groups have authorised the ILUA.The Commonwealth Attorney-General has endorsed the ILUA. Barngarla, the South Australian State Government and Defence signed the ILUA in early 2013. The ILUA was registered by the National Native Title Tribunal on 28 June 2013.
Acquisition of pastoral leases
Four pastoral leaseholders are affected by the project and Defence has continued to engage with them in relation to the expansion of the Cultana training area. Defence is working closely with the South Australian Government on this project and has also consulted with a range of other stakeholders during the acquisition phase. These include Whyalla City Council, Port Augusta City Council, Port Pirie City Council, the former Whyalla Economic Development Board, OneSteel (Arrium), Flinders Regional Area Consultative Committee, and the SA Pastoral Board.
Five of the pastoral leases within the Cultana Expansion Area were acquired on 17 October 2012. A sixth pastoral lease in the Cultana Expansion Area was acquired on 7 November 2012. Livestock was removed from the leases during the first half of 2013.
Development of the training area
A development phase will follow the acquisition phase, during which the infrastructure necessary for the management and use of the training area will be established. Following grant of the MLDP, the new areas will be managed as part of Defence's existing national landholdings to support a range of Australian Defence Force training activities on a sustainable basis.