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Defence Infrastructure Division

Cultana Training Area Expansion Project

Defence has established this website 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.  The current and projected usage of the existing training area is not environmentally sustainable beyond the short term and the expansion of the Cultana Training Area is critical to maintaining Defence capability. 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 has expanded the existing Cultana Training Area westward, increasing its total size from approximately 50,000 hectares to approximately 209,300 hectares. This has been achieved through the acquisition of six pastoral leases, to the west of the current training area between Port Augusta, Whyalla and Iron Knob.

The map below shows the current training area with the Cultana Expansion Area bounded by the red line.

Cultana including Infrastructure

Download the map in JPG [313KB] or PDF [321KB]

On 20 June 2014, the South Australian Government granted Defence a Miscellaneous Lease for Defence Purposes (MLDP) over the Cultana Expansion Area, which effectively completed the acquisition phase of the project. Prior to the grant of the MLDP,) Defence negotiated an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Barngarla and the State of South Australia and related agreements with other indigenous groups, and acquired selected pastoral leases in the Cultana Expansion Area.

Defence has conducted a number studies that will contribute to the management and sustainable use of the expanded Cultana Training Area. These 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 20 June 2014, the MLDP was registered, and this governs the use by Defence of the Cultana Expansion Area (CEA). 

Under the terms of the MLDP, Defence controls 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 facilitation and management of mining/energy resource operations in the CEA;
  • the grant of future mining/energy resource interests over the CEA; and
  • the regulation of access to and use of the CEA.

Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)

The Cultana 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 Cultana Expansion Area ILUA between Defence, Barngarla and the State of South Australia. The ILUA was registered by the National Native Title Tribunal on 28 June 2013.

The map below indicates the ILUA area bounded by the black line and, within that, the MLDP area bounded by the red line.

Cultana Potential Expansion Area

Download the map in JPG [313KB] or PDF[321KB]

Acquisition of pastoral leases

Four pastoral leaseholders were affected by the project.

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 follows the completed 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.