Foreign Investment in the Woomera Prohibited Area


Commonwealth legislation regulates all non-defence access to the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), including foreign investment under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (FATA).

Legislative frameworks

Defence is responsible for determining access to the WPA under its legislative framework.

The Treasurer is responsible for making decisions on foreign investment proposals under the FATA.

Australia’s foreign investment policy and framework

The Australian Government welcomes foreign investment for the significant benefits it provides, while recognising the need to ensure investments are not contrary to the national interest.

The Government reviews foreign investment proposals on a case‑by‑case basis to ensure they are not contrary to the national interest , including national security.

Australia’s foreign investment framework is detailed at the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) website.

Foreign investment in the WPA

Foreign investors must notify FIRB on proposed investments in interests in land or interests in exploration tenements over land in the WPA.

The WPA is considered ‘national security land’ under the FATA as it is a ‘Defence premises’ under section 71A of the Defence Act 1903 .

Further information is available through Guidance notes on the FIRB website including:

  • National security test – Guidance note 8
  • Mining (including exploration) – Guidance note 5
  • Agriculture (including pastoral leases and operations) – Guidance note 3

Defence assessments for access to the WPA

Defence assesses all applications to access and operate in the WPA on a case-by-case basis.

This assessment is undertaken within Defence’s legislative framework, irrespective of an applicant’s country of origin and any foreign investment.

Defence’s assessments are separate to those under the Government’s foreign investment framework.

Contact WPACO 


Call: 1300 727 420

Mail: WPA Coordination Office

Department of Defence

PO Box 7901

Canberra BC ACT 2610