Every type of permit or permission to access the WPA has conditions attached. These conditions must be upheld while accessing the WPA. Non-compliance occurs when these conditions of access are not followed. The conditions of access are supported by Defence's legislative framework.

Defence identifies potential non-compliance through a range of means, including inspection and investigation. Non-compliance may also be reported by permit or deed holders, or by other parties.

Non-compliance can result from the actions taken by any person within the WPA. This might include permit or deed holders and individuals with permitted access to the WPA (for example, tourists without a tourist permit, or escorted persons who aren’t accompanied by an approved person).

Defence operates in line with the Australian Government and Council of Australian Governments (COAG) principles for best practice regulation.

This includes providing effective guidance to regulated parties in order to ensure that the policy intent and expected compliance requirements of the regulation are clear.

In the case of the WPA, Defence is committed to providing effective guidance to the holders of permits or deeds of access to ensure that they understand their compliance obligations through the duration of their access to the WPA.

The WPA compliance strategy focuses on education and cooperation with permit and deed holders operating in the WPA.

The strategy aims to balance Defence’s requirements for safe, secure activities in the WPA with the economic benefits and cultural significance of the WPA to the community. 

The Defence Act 1903 and the Woomera Prohibited Area Rule 2014 include offences and penalties for entering the WPA without permission, or failing to comply with the conditions of a permit.

Anyone contravening a permit condition may be issued with an infringement notice and demerit points under Parts 6 and 7 Rule. Permits can also be suspended or revoked if conditions are not complied with.

Defence conducts site inspections to:

  • monitor compliance with the Woomera Prohibited Area Rule 2014 and Defence Force Regulations 1952
  • investigate suspected or reported breaches of the Rule or Regulations, including permit conditions

Inspections are conducted by the Defence Compliance Monitoring Team (CMT). The CMT comprises uniformed Defence personnel who patrol the WPA.

Permit holders are required to comply with all reasonable directions of the CMT.

Taking a scalable approach, reported non-compliance may trigger the following low-impact regulatory actions by Defence:

  • Advice to remedy the non-compliance
  • Advice to prevent a likely non-compliance from occurring
  • Advice to remedy matters or activities contributing to non-compliance
  • Advice to cease an activity causing non-compliance

Serious instances of non-compliance may trigger the following high-impact regulatory actions by Defence:

  • Additional conditions imposed on permits or deeds of access
  • Increased compliance monitoring
  • Suspension or cancellation of access
  • Formal sanctions including infringements, demerit points and financial penalties
  • Prosecution under Defence legislation

Permit and deed holders must report instances of any non-compliances by themselves or by individuals granted access under their permit or deed.

A self-audit checklist is available to assist you in understanding your compliance obligations.

Suspected non-compliance should be directed to Defence using the contacts below.

Non-compliance might be recognised as:

  • People you do not recognise accessing the WPA, specifically the areas covered by your access permission
  • People accessing restricted areas of the WPA not accessible to the public
  • People accessing restricted areas of the WPA during an exclusion period
  • Other suspicious activity


WPA compliance contacts

Suspected non-compliance and suspicious activity should be directed to WPA Coordination Office:

Email: wpaco@defence.gov.au

Call: 1300 727 420


WPA Coordination Office

Department of Defence

PO Box 7901

Canberra BC ACT 2610