The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith and the Minister for Resources and Energy, Gary Gray today announced the release of draft legislation which will enable the development of an estimated $35 billion of mineral resources in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA).
The Defence Legislation Amendment Bill will provide the framework to regulate access to the area, including the development of significant mineral resources.
The draft legislation implements the recommendations of the Final Report of the Review of the WPA. Consistent with the Review, Defence remains the primary user of the WPA, which provides an essential capability for Defence testing and evaluation.
The new framework will also provide greater certainty for the resources sector and clarify user access arrangements. The legislation contains provisions relating to user access rights, an access permit scheme, compensation and cost recovery arrangements, enforcement provisions and appeals process.
The draft legislation recognises the needs of users in the WPA, including for Defence purposes, resource and logistics companies, pastoralists, Indigenous groups, the South Australian Government and its agencies, environmental groups, tourists, researchers and residents of the WPA and surrounding areas.
The Government intends to introduce the Bill to Parliament later this month. The associated rules, which will be jointly agreed by both Ministers, will be released for public consultation following the Bill’s introduction.
The introduction of legislation is a significant milestone in the development of a workable access regime for the WPA.
The draft legislation and accompanying information paper is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/woomera. Interested parties should consider the draft legislation and respond with any comments by the closing date for initial submissions on 13 May 2013.
The South Australian Government will host a public consultation workshop on the Bill at 9.00am, for 9.30am start, on Friday, 10 May, at the offices of DMITRE, Level 7, 101 Grenfell Street, Adelaide. To register for the workshop, please email DMITRE.Exploration [at] sa.gov.au or ph 08 8463 3138 with the number of persons attending from your organisation.
Mr Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Mr Gray’s Office: John Arthur (02) 6277 7930 or 0408 991 261