The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith MP and Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP today announced the Australian Government is taking the next step for resource exploration in the Woomera Prohibited Area (‘the WPA’) with the release of a standardised Deed of Access for public comment.
When the Government released the Review of the Woomera Prohibited Area Final Report (‘the Review’) in May 2011, it committed to an improved framework for coexistence in the WPA that improves access for the resource industry while preserving the security of Defence activities.
The framework for coexistence will be implemented through legislation, but interim arrangements have been developed to allow companies to access the WPA under contractual Deeds of Access.
Mr Smith stressed the importance of the resources industry being involved in implementing the Review.
“Industry engagement is critical to ensuring the interim arrangements are both practical for the resource industry and effective in protecting the security of Defence activities,” Mr Smith said.
The importance of implementing the coexistence framework was also noted by Mr Ferguson.
“I strongly encourage current and prospective industry users of the WPA to comment on the draft Deed, as the framework will support resources development and Defence activities in the WPA.”
Comments on the Deed of Access can be submitted to the WPA Coordination Office at WPACO [at] defence.gov.au by 15 June 2012 to ensure they are considered.
Interested parties may also choose to attend a WPA Coordination Office workshop on the Deed of Access in Adelaide on 3 May 2012.
Once the Deed of Access and supporting processes are finalised, Government will be in a position to mark the end of the current moratorium phase of implementation. Companies will then be allowed to apply for access to the WPA based on the coexistence framework, supported by the Deed of Access.
The draft Deed of Access, registration details for the workshop in Adelaide and background information on the Review are available at the WPA Coordination Office’s website at www.defence.gov.au/woomera/.
Questions may be directed to the WPACO Coordination Office by phone at 1300 727 420 or by email to WPACO [at] defence.gov.au.
Sacha Fenton, Media Adviser, Minister Smith’s Office, 0467 784 528
Kate Sieper, Media Adviser, Minister Ferguson’s Office, 0466 745 615
Department: 02 6127 1999