Woomera Prohibited Area
The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is a globally unique military testing range. It covers nearly 124,000 square kilometres1 in north-west South Australia, approximately 450 kilometres NNW of Adelaide. It is the largest land range in the world, comparable in size to England, with a centre line of over 600 kilometres.
The WPA has been declared a Prohibited Area under the Defence Force Regulations and is used for the ‘testing of war material’ under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force. The Director Woomera Test Range has authority, on behalf of the Australian Government, to control access to the WPA. Anyone wishing to access any part of the WPA (excluding the Stuart Highway) must obtain prior approval.
The WPA is also highly prospective and the South Australian Government estimates that more than $35 billion in developments, iron ore, gold and uranium projects could be possible over the next decade.
The WPA comprises extensive lands north of the Indian Pacific railway, from Maralinga in the south-west up to its north-west corner in the Great Victoria Desert (that stretches across the SA-WA border), across to Coober Pedy, and west of Roxby Downs down to Woomera in the south-east.
1. This is a recently revised calculation by the South Australian Government using advanced geospatial technology. Based on the same boundary information, the size of the WPA has historically been reported as 127,000 square kilometres.
File imagery is available from the Defence Image Gallery.
- Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Bill 2013, June 2013
- Minister for Defence and Minister for Resources and Energy introduce Woomera Prohibited Area legislation, 30 May 2013
- Minister for Defence and Minister for Resources and Energy announce Woomera Prohibited Area open to resources development under new Deed of Access, 5 October 2012
- Minister for Defence announces appointments to the Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board, 5 October 2012
- Woomera Prohibited Area open to resources development, 3 May 2011