About entry permits

About entry permits

The Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) is a statutory body established under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972. Under the Act, the Aboriginal Lands Trust has responsibility for the overall management of Aboriginal reserves, many of which are leased by the Trust to Aboriginal community corporations. A permit is required to enter a number of the reserves administered by the Aboriginal Lands Trust. The Department on behalf of the ALT administers the issue of permits for entry onto those reserves that are subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972.

What are permits required for?

There are two types of permits:

Transit permits are required to enter and pass through Aboriginal reserves subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972. These permits are generally issued on a short-term basis and usually apply to people in the following circumstances: wishing to visit through reserves for tourism or recreation purposes; wishing to travel through reserves for tourism, recreation or business purposes (other than mining purposes); Visiting art or cultural centres; or doing pre-arranged business with communities (such as doing consultation on matters that are of interest to communities).

Transit permits are not applicable to people wishing to enter reserves for mining purposes, except where entry is required for consultation purposes only.

Mining access permits are required for any mining activity (surveying and/or marking out of tenements, fossicking, prospecting, exploring and mining) on any Aboriginal reserve subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972; and Travelling through such Aboriginal reserves to access mining tenements outside of the reserve for prospecting, exploration or mining purposes.

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs issues mining entry permits after seeking the views of the Aboriginal Lands Trust, which in turn must be satisfied that there has been adequate consultation with any resident Aboriginal community and relevant Native Title interests.

Are permits legally required?

Yes. Under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972, transit permits are required for any person visiting or passing through an Aboriginal reserve subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972, unless he/she is:

a person of Aboriginal descent; a member of either House of Parliament of the State or of the Commonwealth; a person lawfully exercising a function under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 or otherwise acting in pursuance of a duty imposed by law; or a person authorised in that behalf under the regulations of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972.

Why are permits necessary?

The permit system is designed to help protect the privacy of Aboriginal communities, preserve Aboriginal heritage and culture, safeguard the natural environment and to promote visitor safety.

When will I need a permit?

Whenever you enter an Aboriginal reserve subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 for any purpose - to visit, to transit or for commercial activities.

Permits are required for all persons visiting Aboriginal communities on these reserves on a short or long- term basis - tourists, contractors, hawkers etc.

Does everybody travelling in the vehicle require a separate permit?

No. People travelling together can be included in the one permit, which is usually issued in the name of the nominated driver. The names of all passengers should be listed on the permit application.

How long does it take for a permit to be issued?

The on-line permit system now has an auto-approval feature. The feature means that once the applicant has entered their details, proposed destination and purpose of their visit, their permit will instantly appear on the screen of their computer, ready to print out and carry with them on their travels.

While auto-approval will not apply in all circumstances, it is estimated that around 50-70 per cent of the permits that are applied for on-line will qualify. Those that don't qualify will generally be those applications that require specific community approval before the permit can be issued.

To see whether your application qualifies for auto-approval click here.

Applications for other routine transit permits can generally be processed within a day, particularly if the application is lodged via the Internet. However, in peak tourist seasons, delays may occur.

Applications which seek extended stays on the Reserve lands, travel by unusual circumstances, e.g. camel, bicycle, or along more remote roads, will take longer to process as the Aboriginal Lands Trust must seek comment from the resident communities. You should submit these applications well in advance of your planned trip, as processing may take in excess of four weeks.

For visitor safety, persons travelling alone on bicycles or walking will not be issued a permit, unless they are accompanied by a support vehicle.

Is there a charge for permits?

No. The Aboriginal Lands Trust issues permits free of charge. However it should be noted that some Aboriginal communities do levy an entry/camping/activity fee for people wishing to visit or remain on the reserve for an extended period, e.g. in the Kimberley Region where tourists may stay over for fishing activities.

Where do I apply?

You can apply online. Please read the information on this page before applying.

The Western Australian Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (Permits facility) is available between 6:30am and 10:30 pm Western Standard Time.

Permits- outside Western Australia

The Department does not issue permits for areas outside of Western Australia. However, we have compiled some information that may be useful in relation to lands adjoining Western Australian reserves and other states.