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Accessing Aboriginal Reserves

Accessing Part III Aboriginal Reserves Wotjulum 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 Wotjulum 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. First determine if you will be visiting Part III Aboriginal Reserve Land in Dambimangari country. The Native Title map identifies the two Aboriginal Reserves of Kunmunya and Wotjulum.

    You should also check here for other Part III Aboriginal Reserves outside of Dambimangari Country you may be travelling through and will need to apply for a Transit Permit for.

  2. If you are going to visit either Wotjulum or Kunmunya Aboriginal Reserves, you need to ensure that you will be covered by a Transit Permit. The application process is the same for commercial tour operators and private independent travellers (note: a different process applies for mining activities).

    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.
  5. Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation will approve the application, on the condition that the visitors are respectful of the Traditional Owners wishes and 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 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 within 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 Wotjulum 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 Transit Permit applications objected to by DAC.