The Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is the ground area of the Woomera Test Range and covers 122,000 square km - that’s an area roughly the same size as England.
The Woomera Test Range (WTR) supports Defence capabilities through the conduct of controlled, secure and safe Test & Evaluation (T&E) and Research & Experimentation (R&E) activities.
A valuable strategic asset for Australia and its Allies, the WPA provides a highly specialised operations environment to support and maintain the operational suitability and effectiveness of extant Defence capabilities, required for the defence of Australia.
Throughout the year there are numerous activities allocated to trial and test Defence systems, to achieve directed national and whole-of-government objectives for safe and secure in-service weapon trials.
The WTR uses many items of special equipment, such as high speed cameras and optical trackers, to ensure that such testing is always carried out as safe as possible.
The Department of Defence maintains a shared use arrangement under a coexistence agreement, including traditional owners, pastoralists, the resources sector and tourism operators, coordinated through the Woomera Prohibited Area Coordination Office (WPACO).
Defence uses the most appropriate areas of the WPA to conduct its activities after planning and consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
The next scheduled testing of equipment and weaponry required for the defence of Australia in the WPA will commence from 1 September until 5 October 2019.
Stuart Highway and some (unsealed) roads within parts of the WPA will be closed at times. It is anticipated there will be nine suspensions for up to 12 hours per suspension during this period. Due to the nature of the activity, additional contingency closures may be required.
The exact dates will be subject to weather and operating conditions. These road closures will be notified through media, signage and traffic management and/or uniformed Defence personnel on the day.
For any closure / exclusion, Defence will advise when it is safe to proceed through the WPA and allow you to continue your journey. The road closure / exclusion area is to prevent access and ensure people’s safety, which is of paramount importance at all times.
Defence is aware that the trial period will take place during school holidays and will continue to inform the community of potential road closures times to minimise disruption to travel plans.
There a number of long-standing relationships within the WPA. Defence values these important relations with community groups and key stakeholders to enable the safe and successful conduct of trials and training activities.