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Accessing Aboriginal Reserves

Accessing Part III Aboriginal Reserves Wotjalum and Kunmunya

A tour group at Kunmunya Reserve

Aboriginal Reserve Land is land reserved for the use and benefit of Aboriginal people. Within Dambimangari country, the Aboriginal Reserves of Wotjalum and Kunmunya were proclaimed under Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972, meaning access is restricted. Visitors need to apply to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for a Transit Permit. The issuing of Transit Permits has been delegated to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) permit officer and is implemented through an online application system. You can find out more background information on the DAA and Transit Permits here.

The process for applying for a Transit Permit to access Part III Aboriginal Reserves on Dambimangari country is as follows:

  1. Apply for a Dambimangari Visitor Pass and determine if the area you wish to visit includes either Wotjalum and/or Kunmunya Aboriginal Reserves using the Visitor Location Schedule.

  2. If you are going to visit either Wotjalum or Kunmunya Aboriginal Reserves, you need to contact DAC (visitorpass@dambi.org.au) outlining the reasons for your intended visit and the specific site location (e.g. WWII Loran Radar Base, or GPS coordinates).

    Commercial Tour operators will need to have a Transit Permit and this will cover all passengers on the tour. You may wish to check that your operator has obtained a Transit Permit prior to your tour departure. Passengers travelling as part of a commercial a tour do not need to apply for a Transit Permit separately.

    Private travellers (not on a commercial tour), will need to have a nominated trip leader who will apply for a Transit Permit on behalf of everyone in the travelling party.

  3. The DAA online application will need to be completed by either the commercial operator or nominated trip leader. It is possible to request a Transit Permit to be valid for up to 12 months. You do not need to enter details for every passenger. Please select the correct reserves on the drop-down menu on the DAA website, these being “Kimberley - Kunmunya Reserves” and “Kimberley – Wotjalum”.

  4. Once the DAA online application has been completed, your application will be referred to Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation (DAC) for assessment.

    Failure to make prior contact with the DAC office and obtain a Dambimangari Visitor Pass will result in a refusal of your application to obtain a Transit Permit from the DAA.
  5. Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation will approve the application, on the condition that the visitors are respectful of the Traditional Owners wishes only access places on the Visitor Location Schedule, and act in accordance with the Visiting Dambimangari Country Code of Conduct.

  6. It is very important that you familiarise yourself with the Visitor Location Schedule and the Visiting Dambimangari Country Code of Conduct, as failure to comply will likely result in Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation refusal to issue a Dambimangari Visitor Pass and objecting to your future Transit Permit applications. Please note that permission to access some places is conditional on visitors only accessing the site when accompanied by a Traditional Owner guide. (refer to Code of Conduct).

  7. You will be notified after 5 working days by DAA as to the outcome of your Transit Permit application. If issued, the Transit Permit will identify conditions and notes. It is noted on the Transit Permit that visitors’ need to be respectful of the Traditional Owners wishes outlined on the Dambimangari website (includes the Visitor Location Schedule and the Visiting Dambimangari Country Code of Conduct).

Non-compliance: Failure to be covered by a Transit Permit when accessing Part III Aboriginal Reserves is a serious offence. Visitors entering Wotjalum or Kunmunya without permission:

  • Commit an offence under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 and are liable on conviction for a $1 000 fine or imprisonment for 9 months for a first offence, and a $5 000 fine or imprisonment for 12 months for a second or subsequent offence.
  • Risk having any insurance claim made to an insurance provider denied because the responsible visitor was acting unlawfully.
  • For tour operators, failure to obtain a permit is in breach of the commercial operators’ licences issued for neighbouring conservation reserves.
  • Risk having any future Dambimangari Visitor Pass applications refused by DAC and DAC objecting to the issue of any Transit Permits.