Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board Annual Report 2015–16



  • Chair’s report
  • Executive summary
  • Advisory Board
  • Woomera Prohibited Area overview
  • SA Government economic and resource potential assessment
  • Facts and figures
  • Defence use of the WPA
  • Non-Defence users' views on coexistence

Executive summary

The WPA is Australia’s most important military testing range. The complexity and number of weapons tests and trials conducted at the WPA is increasing and will develop further following the introduction of new military capabilities and weapons systems in coming years. This will be enabled by the upgrades currently being made to the test range’s infrastructure and systems.

Minerals and energy resources exploration and mining provide the highest economic value among non-Defence activities in the WPA, despite the recent downturn in commodity prices. During the reporting period, there were three mines operating in the WPA: the Challenger gold mine; the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine; and the Cairn Hill iron ore mine. These mines employed over 1,300 people and contributed around $47 million to South Australia in royalties.

The number of resource exploration permit applications has reduced over the reporting year as a result of the downturn in commodity prices. One permit application was denied.

The Department of Defence, with the South Australian Department of State Development, continue to consult with WPA stakeholders on coexistence within the WPA under Defence’s legislative framework. Stakeholders will continue to inform measures to improve the coexistence framework through a series of reviews of the legislation and governance arrangements in 2016 and again in 2018.