Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board Terms of Reference



  1. Monitor and report on the balance of national security and economic interests in the WPA.
  2. Oversee the implementation of the coexistence policy arrangements.
  3. Foster strategic relationships between Defence and non‐Defence users of the WPA.


  1. An independent Chair to be agreed by the Ministers for: Defence; Resources and Energy; Finance and Deregulation; and the Premier of South Australia.
  2. Members: The Commonwealth (the Department of Defence and the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and the Department of Finance and Deregulation) and the South Australian Government (Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE) and Defence SA).
    1. Members should be senior‐level (Deputy Secretary/Deputy Chief Executive) representatives of their respective organisations.

Roles and Functions

  1. Monitor and recommend amendments to coexistence policies and procedures.
  2. Develop high‐level relationships between Defence and the resources sector.
  3. Resolve disputes between Defence and non‐Defence users.
  4. Report annually on the balance of interests in the WPA.
  5. Conduct a review every seven years of the balance of interests in the WPA.

Operating Procedures

  1. The Chair should guide discussions but is not the arbitrator on decisions.
  2. The Chair should only endorse proposed amendments to coexistence policy and processes that have been agreed by both Defence and DMITRE.
    1. Each agency representative would be responsible for achieving the necessary changes in their own organisations to effect coexistence policy outcomes.
  3. The Board should meet quarterly at the beginning, moving to half yearly, to discuss issues arising from the implementation and execution of coexistence policies and processes and the balance of national interests in the WPA.
    1. Issues could be discussed and resolved out of session with the agreed action appropriately minuted in the subsequent Board meeting.
    2. The Board should invite external persons as they relate to the issues being considered.
  4. Consistent with legal authority, and as the primary user of the WPA, Defence should have the final authority on granting non‐Defence access, but the Board would operate in a collegiate manner to resolve all reasonable impediments to Defence authorising a permit.
    1. The Board may request that Defence reconsider its decision to deny access in light of any additional substantial information not previously considered by Defence.
  5. In preparing the annual reports on the balance of interests in the WPA and in assessing extant coexistence policy and procedures the Board should:
    1. call for submissions from non‐Defence users on their experience with obtaining access to and operating in the WPA;
    2. assess Defence use of the WPA for the preceding 12 months and anticipated use for the subsequent 12 months as provided by the Coordination Office; and
    3. assess:
      1. the number of tenements renewed or granted in the past 12 months and the number anticipated in he next 12 months; and
      2. updates on the resources potential of the WPA as provided by the Coordination Office.
  6. The annual reports on the balance of interests in the WPA will be publicly available, with copies provided to the heads of the relevant State and Commonwealth agencies and respective State and Federal ministers.
  7. In conducting the seven‐yearly review, the Board should consider, but not be limited to, the following:
    1. Defence use of the WPA in the preceding seven years and anticipated use in the following seven years;
    2. the findings from the on‐going South Australian Government geological assessment;
    3. the views of non‐Defence and Defence users in the WPA; and
    4. the effectiveness of extant time‐share arrangements and coexistence policy and procedures.
  8. The findings of the seven‐yearly review should be provided to the heads of the relevant State and Commonwealth agencies, the Prime Minister, South Australian Premier and respective State and Federal ministers, as well as being made publicly available.


  1. Each agency should be responsible for the resourcing of its contribution to the Board.
  2. Secretariat support should be provided by the WPA Coordination Office with support from DMITRE.
    1. Quarterly meetings should be held in Adelaide and Canberra alternately.

These terms of reference were endorsed by the WPA Advisory Board on 18 December 2012.