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Lancelin Defence Training Area (DTA)

The US has been interested in using the Lancelin Defence Training Area (DTA) for quite some time. In 1995 the commander of the US 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Archie Clemins inspected the Lancelin DTA with a view to its future use by US forces. Clemins told The West Australian that traditional US Training grounds around the world were disappearing and Australia was an attractive option. Vice-Admiral Clemins has spoken with Australian military officials about training here and personally inspected Lancelin during a recent visit to Perth. "One of the greatest things we lost in the Philippines were (bombing) ranges to train," he said. "You have to have places to drop bombs, you have to have places to shoot live weapons, places to fly planes over that make noise, places where you can actually test and exercise your capabilities. "I think Australia in the future is going to be one of the places we'd like to exercise with the Australians, as well as with the US Navy. "You now have some of the finest ranges in the Western Pacific which we cannot get anywhere else. "

The Australian Department of Defence is proposing to lease 36,500 ha from the West Australian Government to extend the existing Defence Training Area near Lancelin. This land will compensate for restrictions on the current training area that will result with the construction of a road connecting Lancelin and Cervantes, as well as provide a Training Area to meet Defence┤s long-term needs.

The Department of Defence intends to extend the existing Lancelin Defence Training Area (DTA) located approximately 140 km north of Perth, and approximately 25 km north of Lancelin. The proposal includes the existing and proposed extension to the current DTA and will be referred to in this report as the Proposal Area. Defence has been training in the area since the 1940s and has been using the existing DTA for at least 30 years.

The current area used by the Department of Defence comprises:

  • The Royal Australian Navy Impact Area (RANIA) - 970 hectares of freehold land along the coast owned by the Department of Defence;
  • Naval Gunfire Support Range Danger Area (NGSRDA) - 11,853 hectares leased by the Department of Defence;
  • Bivouac Area (Bullfrog Well) - 40.47 ha owned by the Department of Defence; and
  • the Army Training Area - approximately 17,300 hectares on a permissive occupancy arrangement, of which 4,000 hectares overlap the Naval Danger Area.

Defence proposes to extend the Lancelin DTA by leasing from the State an additional area of land of approximately 36,500 hectares for a period of at least 50 years. The majority of the proposed extension is vacant Crown Land with the remainder being pastoral leases or freehold private property. The procedure for acquiring land within the extension and establishing a lease agreement with the State and matters relating to Native Title are being handled under separate processes.

The extended DTA allows for:

  • access to the area for (initially) 50 years;
  • areas to support gunnery training for the Navy;
  • area for training within suitable proximity to Perth to provide weekend training needs for Army reserve forces;


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