Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson today released the Interim Report of the Government Review of the Woomera Prohibited Area.
The Review was commissioned by the Government in May this year and is led by Dr Allan Hawke AC.
The Review process has involved extensive stakeholder consultation, including with representatives from Defence, the South Australian Government, the minerals and petroleum resources industry, Indigenous groups, pastoralists and environmental groups. Twenty-five public submissions were made to the Review.
The Interim Report contains an analysis of key findings from those consultations and public submissions. The Review found there is scope to increase the national value of the Woomera Prohibited Area and has put forward a model that could promote better management of the national security and economic interests in this unique area of South Australia.
“The Government has acknowledged the national security and economic significance of the Woomera Prohibited Area and welcomes the Interim Report as a vehicle to enhance the coexistence of two important national priorities,” said Mr Smith.
The Interim Report proposes a coexistence model that will promote greater transparency and certainty for all interested in operating in the Woomera Prohibited Area. The coexistence model sees Defence continue to conduct its test and evaluation activities to meet its requirements now and into the future.
The importance of the Woomera Prohibited Area for developing and maintaining Australia’s military capability is recognised and the Interim Report proposes a core area for Defence use. The model also proposes a time-share arrangement between Defence and non-Defence users in other areas of the Woomera Prohibited Area. That would facilitate resources industry access to specific areas of the Woomera Prohibited Area for set periods of time.
“The Woomera Prohibited Area has significant mineral and petroleum resource potential. Facilitating access to these resources would provide greater certainty to the resources industry and its potential investors,” said Mr Ferguson.
Public comment on the Interim Report closes in early December. Consultation on the proposed coexistence model outlined in the Interim Report will inform the final report on the long-term management of coexistence in the Woomera Prohibited Area. Dr Hawke will present his final report to the Government by the end of the year, which the Government will then consider.
The Interim Report is available at www.defence.gov.au/woomerareview
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