Canning Stock Route

I’d like to understand the legalities of driving (transiting) the CSR.
I understand permits are not being issued.
Some say it’s a public access gazetted road, including Kuju Wangka CSR permit website.
An easement through Crown Land under exclusive use native title.
If we are not visiting aboriginal communities for fuel etc, thus not posing a Covid risk, and only transiting the track, is a permit legally required?
Under what law or regulation?
What is the penalty?
Has anyone ever been fined?
WA Police have approved the drive provided I don’t visit any communities.

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Reply By: Member - Core420 - Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 11:56

Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 11:56
As far as I know the restrictions are put in place by order under the public health laws. These have very broad powers. For example currently the only two access points into WA are through Kununurra and Eucla. There are many other road and tracks, but they are all out of bounds. I doubt that anyone is checking all these tracks for compliance, but should you get caught, then the penalties for breaching a public health order are potentially severe.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 09:37

Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 09:37
Hi Core 420,

You can also enter W.A. via The Great Central Road through Docker River, I don’t know if there is a checkpoint or not, also it requires two permits, from different Traditional Custodian councils.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 10:35

Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 10:35
Last year WA Police confirmed to me they had no issue with me (or anyone else) returning to WA on the Gary Highway. Afaik, this is still the case.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 10:41

Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 10:41
Hi Macca, regarding Great Central Rd:
This is a public access gazetted transit road and no permit is required for transit.
A permit is required to enter communities to buy fuel but not for transit.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 08:46

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 08:46
Hi Mark,

It is my understanding that if you are accessing the GCR from the east via Uluru, unless you have a travel/transit permit, you will need to pay the entry fee into the National Park at the entry gate. Either way, a transit permit is required to drive the GCR between Laverton & Yulara. Yes it is a gazetted public road, but as it traverses Traditional Custodial lands, a permit is required.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 11:18

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 11:18
Hi Macca,
I do find this whole issue very confusing and I may well be misinformed, but my understanding is Native Title legislation does not cancel public transit right of way over a gazetted road.
Certainly thousands of people have driven the GCR without a permit and I have never heard of infringements being issued.
Issued by who?
And what amount was the fine?
Can Aboriginal corporations issue fines? - I have never heard of it.
I would really appreciate understanding the legalities of this matter.
Cheers
Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 14:16

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 14:16
Hi Mark,

This is a direct cut and paste from a government website.

A permit is required when travelling on roads through Aboriginal land such as the Great Central Road, Tjukaruru Road and most of the roads-tracks leading off the Outback Way between Laverton and Yulara. Travellers driving along the Tjukaruru Rd between Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and NT/ WA border/ can apply for a transit permit from the Central Land Council (NT), or if travelling the Great Central Road a travel permit is available from the Ngaanyatjarra Land Council (WA).

Permits give you 3 days to travel from Yulara to Docker River and 3 days from WA Border to Laverton- this is heaps of time. You do not need to print your permit, just have it available on your email/ on your phone, so it can be displayed if required.

Special permission is required to travel off the Outback Way to places of particular interest and travellers can apply to the Ngaanyatjarra Council (NT), allowing 24-72 hrs

The OHDC Inc also uses the data to indicate how many people are using the road- this is helpful for maintenance and seeking funds for upgrading.

You can “Google” permits required for travelling the Great Central Road to take you to the various websites where this information can be found. If you do not have a transit permit, and you are stopped by either a National Park Ranger, or the Police, you can be fined. I know some people don’t bother with permits, and often get away with it. However, as I stated earlier, if travelling from the East, you will not be able to get past the National Park gate at Ulu?u without either paying the National Park 3 day Pass fee, or having a valid Transit Permit.

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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 14:39

Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 14:39
I would have thought that if a permit is required to drive but none are being issued at the moment..then you are not allowed to drive it. I had a special permit that allowed me to drive on all roads to and from Aboriginal communities. If a section was closed for any reason we were notified and depending on the nature of my work I was normally exempt. Public were not allowed on the roads without a permit. As WA is rife with covid at the moment I would say that it would be very irresponsible to travel. Even though communities may not be on the agenda...breakdowns/accidents could see contact made with indigenous people. You have asked a few questions trying to see if there is a get around the permit requirement. As I said...if a permit is required then you should have one.
AnswerID: 640627

Reply By: Alan McCall - Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 13:35

Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 13:35
There's a few different issues here.
When this topic comes up there's normally a fair bit of confusion.

Native Title has been granted over the land the CSR passes through, through different groups of Traditional Owners who now issue a single permit for transit.

However the actual CSR itself is exempt from Native Title. This is the original temporary reserve, or easement from Halls Creek down to Wiluna. 1 mile wide from Halls Creek to the Wolfe Creek / Sturt Creek Junction and 5 miles wide from there to Wiluna.

The truth be known - this easement is no longer a easement and was never actually gazetted as a stock route. The land has since reverted to unallocated crown land. It is this strip of land that is exempt from the Native Title Determination - Federal Legislation.

However, the route/tracks that most CSR travelers use does not line up with the strip of land that is exempt from Native Title. This is as the first vehicles that used the route and made the track took the easiest way, not the shortest way.

Technically, if you followed the route of the exemption and did not deviate from it onto the adjacent Native Title Land then you would not be in breach of the Native Title Legislation. This though would be too great an undertaking for the standard CSR traveler. You basically would have to keep a straight line between the wells - many wells do not have directly connected tracks so in order to comply you would have to scrub bash etc...The line between Well 47 and 48 is a good example of this.

The issue of not being allowed access into certain communities is a separate state issue. When Covid happened the state pushed through legislation to enable communities to be locked down to outsiders (with exceptions for essential workers etc.)

The communities themselves could choose if they were to be part of the lockdown - so far, the communities adjacent to the CSR have chosen to be locked down.

By not issuing CSR permits, the traditional owners have essentially granted themselves almost exclusive access to the CSR - they have been doing work through the pandemic the entire time on the CSR - so others traveling the normal vehicle route could introduce some risk of covid to the lands if they enter the area.

There is another thing to consider here and that is the state legislation, the Aboriginal Heritage Act. There are places along the actual stock route that are listed as registered sites as part of the act - and some have restrictions, such as no access, or men only.

By utilising a permit access to most of these places is granted with the permit. If you do not have a permit then you will have to do your own research on the places along the CSR that are restricted or risk breaching the Act.


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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 08:41

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 08:41
Would you mind citing official sources for the various statements you make in the post.

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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 07:59

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 07:59
Hi Mark W44
Rather than try and reply to your queries, this cuts across them.


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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 11:03

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 11:03
Hi Phil, thanks for your reply. The Kuju Wangka statement clearly states their position as an aboriginal entity and I understand that.
My confusion and questions relate to what the law actually states, as opposed to how the law is interpreted by another party.
I am still searching for the legislation on that issue.
Cheers
Mark
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 16:01

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 16:01
The roads go through the the Aboriginal land and are clearly covered by the Aboriginal Lands Act. If you are on the track then you are within the boundaries of the reserve. From a summary of the Act -

(1) Whenever any person, not being a person of Aboriginal descent
or a person authorised under the Act or these regulations to enter
or remain within the boundaries of a reserve, desires for any
stated reason to enter or remain in any reserve, he shall apply to
the Minister for permission so to do and the Minister may grant
such permission to enter accordingly

Further reading -

Aboriginal Land Act (NT) 1992
Authorised by section 73 of the ALRA.
Section 4 makes it an offence for people to enter or remain on Aboriginal land (and certain roads) without a permit (penalty: $1000).
Section 8 says the legislation does not authorise the entry of a person to a dwelling without the permission of the owner or the occupant. 'Dwelling' includes the living area of a camp occupied by or belonging to an Aboriginal person.
Section 11 empowers the Administrator on the recommendation of a Land Council to declare an area of Aboriginal land, or a road, to be an 'open area' or an 'open road' which can be entered without a permit.
permits can be issued by:
the traditional owners of the area concerned
the relevant Land Council
the Administrator of the Northern Territory – where a person has applied for a permit to use a road and has been refused or the permit has not been issued in a reasonable time
the relevant Northern Territory Minister – in respect of certain Commonwealth or Northern Territory Government employees
the Land Council and the traditional owners can revoke their own or each other’s permits and delegate their authority to issue permits. With some exceptions permits are issued without charge.

The Act and legislation is littered with references to roads and nowhere states that any roads are exempt from permits unless the relevant authority states they are exempt. The traditional owners would not be stating that you need permits to enter their land, even on a public road, if they didn't have a legal leg to stand on. PAR's are regularly closed in every state by the authorities that control them, usually for defined reasons such as flooding etc. The roads through Aboriginal lands may be public but they are controlled by the relevant land council and they do have the authority to close them. In this case, the road is closed for public health reasons.

AnswerID: 640641

Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:19

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:19
Many thanks Michael
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 17:40

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 17:40
The Kuju Wangka statement 2 weeks ago is clear. The CSR is closed. I tire of folk unable to accept that traditional owners of country are allowed to exercise their rights. . Show some respect instead of trying to find loopholes to get your own way. If you found some sort of legal loophole it wouldn't make it morally ok to ignore the Kuju Wangka statement.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, May 23, 2022 at 18:18

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 18:18
Legal intricacies aside, the KW CSR faq appears to confirm what Alan suggests above in regard to the track's deviation into aboriginal lands.

WHY DO YOU NEED A PERMIT?
1. You must receive a permit for the Canning Stock Route (CSR) as the 4WD track deviates from the original historic track. In some areas, it deviates substantially. This takes you into country over which the Aboriginal groups hold native title and where there is no public right of access.

2. The CSR is part of a “public access corridor” which includes significant Aboriginal sites. Many of these sites are registered and protected under the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act, 1972. This is hardly surprising, given that Canning located the majority of his wells on or beside Aboriginal waterholes that he had been led to. The permits will give you access to the majority of these registered sites – in particular, the wells and the area around them.

3. By cooperating with the permit system, you are helping the various Aboriginal groups to manage the CSR more effectively. The numbers travelling this country are rising every year. You will see some of the impact of this visitation on the country. Aboriginal groups want to improve facilities for people travelling the CSR (such as looking after the environment, campsites and facilities along the CSR).
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:16

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:16
Bazooka, thanks for your input.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:17

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:17
Thanks for your comments Cuppa. Your opinion and demands noted.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:28

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 12:28
You're welcome MarkW44.
I'm in no position to make 'demands' . More a frustrated request for decency & respect. You may prefer to think I expressed an opinion, but it is not an opinion about the clarity of the Kuju Wangka statement. Closed means closed.
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Reply By: Rocket Rod - Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 13:41

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 13:41
Track Care WA has recently signed an MOU with WDLAC (Martu people) and with their permission we will undertake our usual maintenance run of the CSR and as part of this we will be running a mapping project as well. Data has already been collated as to the "Legal" boundary of the CSR corridor, it's now a matter of tracing the actual route and overlay this. We know from previous trips that the track does indeed travel outside the corridor but we wish to do this in a more formal manner to clear up any confusion.
Rod Durston
Vicechair
Track Care WA
AnswerID: 640666

Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 18:05

Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 18:05
Outside the scope of the topic, but....., I wonder how this would "fly" if we applied it to another group within society.......

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Monday, May 30, 2022 at 20:48

Monday, May 30, 2022 at 20:48
I assume it would be legal because the constitution allows for race specific legislation.
And, the 1967 referendum gave 90% support for Aboriginal specific legislation which allowed for the Mabo decision of the High Court in 1992 and subsequent Exclusive Aboriginal Use of an area of central Australia twice the size of Tasmania by a very small number of people, 90% of whom never go there.
So the Australian people got what they wanted.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, May 30, 2022 at 22:49

Monday, May 30, 2022 at 22:49
Out of curiosity, I was wondering if an Aboriginal person from elsewhere, such as Tasmania, has the right of passage without a permit. They may have no connection whatsoever to the area in question. What about a Torres Straight Islander? Since we're talking legalities....
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Monday, May 30, 2022 at 23:31

Monday, May 30, 2022 at 23:31
It’s any aboriginal person. Not tribe or region specific. One must identify as an aboriginal person and be accepted as such in an aboriginal community. Aboriginal “blood or DNA or descend” is not required.
If you are an aboriginal person from the Torres Straight and want to drive the CSR…. no permit required.
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Follow Up By: Rocket Rod - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 12:55

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 12:55
For those that want to do the CSR have a look at this. https://www.canningstockroute.net.au/permits
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 15:55

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 15:55
Thanks for your info Rocket Rod.
Last year I was driving the Gary Junction Highway and was welcomed into Kunawarritiji and offered access to fuel and shop.
Several car loads of locals returned from Port Hedland while I was there.
There were no keep out signs or anything about Covid.
Several locals invite me to drive along the CSR.
I’m confused how these events are can occur given CSR permits are not being issued for the sole purpose of safeguarding the local communities from Covid.
Any ideas?
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Follow Up By: Rocket Rod - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 17:55

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 17:55
Sorry everybody, this was the link I meant to send
https://www.canningstockroute.net.au/apply-for-a-permit
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 18:03

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2022 at 18:03
It's like your home, there may be a blanket ban on strangers entering it, but if you meet a stranger that you like then you might invite him to enter.
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Reply By: JJAdv - Thursday, Jun 02, 2022 at 01:10

Thursday, Jun 02, 2022 at 01:10
ASW got permission directly.. Looking forward to his video.

AnswerID: 640730

Follow Up By: Member - Mark W44 - Thursday, Jun 02, 2022 at 09:55

Thursday, Jun 02, 2022 at 09:55
Very interesting JJAdv. There is more to the CSR than Kuji Wangka would have us believe. Thanks for posting
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