Commonwealth legislation

Defence Act 1903 Part VIA - Security of Defence Premises

The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is defined as a Defence Premise. Unauthorised entry to the WPA is an offence that is punishable by up to two years imprisonment, 120 penalty units or both. (Defence Act 1903, section 72TC)

Upon entry to the WPA, apart from areas covered by a Standing Permission, you may be asked by a defence security official to:

  • provide identification or evidence of your authority to be on the premises
  • undergo a limited search of your person or a search of your vehicle.

Defence Force Regulations 1952

Existing non-Defence users with permission to access the WPA under the provisions of Part VII of the Defence Force Regulations 1952 at the time of the Woomera Prohibited Area Rule 2014 coming into force on 27 August 2014 remain subject to those provisions. This is provided by section 72TB of the Defence Act 1903.

Existing users include Aboriginal persons and traditional owners, pastoralists, the operating mines subject to deeds of access with the Commonwealth, the owner or operators of the Tarcoola-to-Darwin railway line, and South Australian Government employees or its agents.

Existing users do not need to apply for an access permit under the Woomera Prohibited Area Rule 2014.

Legislative note

Defence Regulation 2016 came into effect on 1 October 2016 and repealed the Defence Force Regulations 1952. Despite this repeal, under a saving provision, Part VII of the Defence Force Regulations 1952 continues to apply to existing users in accordance with subsection 72TB(1) of the Defence Act 1903. This means that any declaration, authorisation or permission given under regulations 34 or 35 of the Defence Force Regulations 1952 remains.

Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Act 2014

The 2014 legislation comprises the Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Act 2014 and Woomera Prohibited Area Rule 2014. The Act gives effect to the recommendations of the Final Report of the Review of the Woomera Prohibited Area (PDF). The Act is supported by the Rule which provides the detailed arrangements to give effect to the legislation.

The Woomera Prohibited Area Rule 2014 only applies to new users from 27 August 2014 seeking access to the WPA. New users need to apply for an access permit before they can enter the WPA for one of the following purposes:

  • resource production
  • resource exploration
  • opal mining and precious stone prospecting
  • research
  • tourism
  • environmental, and
  • other purposes.