Permit APY Lands

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 14:27
ThreadID: 137736 Views:4521 Replies:5 FollowUps:15
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Hi, I am planning a trip via the Mulga Park Giles road to Surveyors Corner (NT ,SA, WA)and would like to know if any one has been successful in getting a permit to travel through the APY Lands. Officially NO permits are given but there may be away around that by contacting an Art gallery in one of the communities(which I have done with NO reply)
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Reply By: Shaker - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 17:00

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 17:00
I have said this before, it is pretty annoying that the Australian taxpayer has given them $104,000,000.00 for road improvements & transit permits are almost impossible to obtain. I also believe that there is another $30,000,000.00 plus to upgrade the airstrip.
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Reply By: lindsay - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 20:17

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 20:17
If you want to see how indigenous politics work and the permit system a good read is a book about Papunya, it is called King Brown Country. It will change your attitude on indigenous politics forever.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 22:08

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 22:08

Transcript only now.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Thursday, Jan 31, 2019 at 08:59

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019 at 08:59
Or an even worse case of social destruction through political correctness see here

and another good read on the implosion of Balgo in the 80's and 90's courtesy of Labour and the Hawke Govt,

Holding Yawulyu: White Culture and Black Women's Law By Zohl Dé Ishtar

You'll find it on google books - search "Ngulupi"

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Jan 31, 2019 at 06:37

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019 at 06:37
Jim, when are you planning to go there? I applied around 6 months before going and chased up as nearly a full-time job.

I got the permit 2 days before we were there. I'd basically given up and we had a plan b route. We were in Warburton when I got the email.

A policeman in APY asked for my permit and said I was one of 2 or 3 bonafide tourists he had seen in 2- 3 years that he had been working there.

A lot of luck and perseverance.
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Follow Up By: Member - JIM F4 - Thursday, Jan 31, 2019 at 20:00

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019 at 20:00
Hi Tony, We are planning to be in that area early June. My first attempt was to be in contact with an art group at Amata community and Kalka community, which have not responded yet( only 30days) and use this lever to get a permit.

An article by Connie Beadell says that they have been knocked back in 2018, but with the sacking of Richard King the General Manager things may have changed!!
The fine for no permit $2000 is tied to your registration of your vehicle and the big stick is when you re- register that vehicle!! Pay the fine first!! Any suggestions??
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Follow Up By: Member - JIM F4 - Friday, Feb 01, 2019 at 18:15

Friday, Feb 01, 2019 at 18:15
Hi Tony,
When did you go through the APY Lands and where did the policeman check your permit. I am contacting more art centres as a forum member suggested.
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Follow Up By: PhilD - Friday, Feb 01, 2019 at 23:47

Friday, Feb 01, 2019 at 23:47
Been in the APY Lands a few times, but never had my permit checked. Only ever asked by bureaucrats what I was doing there.
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Follow Up By: Member - JIM F4 - Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 10:01

Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 10:01
Hi Phil,
When did you last go through the APY Lands and did you travel on the Mulga Park - Giles road?What did you tell the bureaucrats!!!?
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Follow Up By: PhilD - Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 10:23

Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 10:23
Last visit about 5 years ago. We were visiting the policeman in Fregon who is a relative of friends we were travelling with. Did not have an official permit. Turned out policeman was called away, so we just drove through the APY Lands to Surveyor Generals Corner. Saw few on the roads, never asked a question......
Previously, there for 25th Anniversary of APY Lands. Had a permit, and quizzed in Ernabella, Indulkana and Umuwa about why we were there. However, on roads eg Mulga Park to Amata just waved to those you pass, and no one takes an interest in you.
Taken the back tracks from Mintabie to Fregon, and up through Kennedy Park also, and didn't see anyone.
It seems there is more huff and puff about being there as no one seems to care, unless you are not being good.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 16:04

Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 16:04
Jim, it was about 3 years ago. We were near Kalpi when the policeman asked for the permit. I asked about tourism, The Policeman said there are too many family issues for it to be opened up for tourism. He though the fact that it is so hard to get a permit is deliberate so issues aren't exposed.

Also as an observation, there are a surprising number of workers/contractors on the road.`

Interestingly when we were at the art gallery at Ernabella there was some guy there that I was chatting to for some time. Hell of a nice person. Turns out he was the Opposition Leader at the time, Steve Marshall. Coming from Victoria, I didn't know him from a bar of soap. He was with his assistant, no media, no minders. He said that there was zero political attention paid to anywhere or anything in SA north of Port Augusta.

He seemed genuinely interested in the communities.
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Follow Up By: Member - JIM F4 - Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 18:19

Saturday, Feb 02, 2019 at 18:19
Thanks Tony,
I will post the emails I have sent, to the art centres as well. What was the art work like? We have been to Desart held in Alice Springs when a lot of art comes in from the surrounding area and it was an interesting experience. We have spent some time volunteering at the Garma Festival in East Arnhem Land in 2015. Amazing art at Yirrkala which is near Nhulunbuy.
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2019 at 08:30

Sunday, Feb 03, 2019 at 08:30
Been following this with interest as we too will be out that way this year and was thinking of heading out to the corner via Mulga way.... Haven't yet looked into permits but will start sending out emails....

Anyone have the email addresses by any chance?
Cheers..... RobM
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Follow Up By: Member - JIM F4 - Sunday, Feb 03, 2019 at 09:19

Sunday, Feb 03, 2019 at 09:19
Hi Rob, I will keep you informed . I have also posted my emails to Amata, Fregon & Kalka to back up my emails.
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2019 at 17:32

Sunday, Feb 03, 2019 at 17:32
Thanks Jim :)

much appreciated
Cheers..... RobM
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Reply By: Member - peter g28 - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 14:35

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 14:35
I found whilst living in the NT to get the local communication happening and put the word out, so to speak...try the local community Health Clinic, they generally have a good relations with the surrounding community and would be able to point you in the right direction.
There is the Central Lands Council in Alice Springs, they could be able to put you in contact with someone APY..
Try this website...
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Reply By: Member - Ray S - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 13:48

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 13:48
Jim, I’ve just come across your post as a consequence of receiving the General Newsletter 482. So belatedly, I will describe my experiences and reflections relating to the business of APY Lands permits. I am unlikely to provide anything particularly new, but I will possibly complement the picture (puzzle?) provided by other members.

We planned to cross the Lands from the WA border (from Pipalyatjara) to Indulkana following a Gunbarrel crossing in August of last year (2018). I applied for our permit on 1 May 2018 seeking permission to visit several art centres in the Lands. I received quite a prompt email reply on 4 May from the Permits Officers stating (quote) “your permit needs to get approval at the next Executive Board meeting on the 23 May.”

I followed up on 3 June with an email to the Permits Officer asking (quote) “if you have any news from the Executive meeting on 23 May 2018 regarding our application for a permit to visit the Arts Centres in the APY Lands later this year.”

Again I received a very prompt reply (4 June) from the Permits Officer stating (quote) “I have just been sorting through the Permits that have just come back from the meeting. I am sorry your application has not been approved so sorry…… The permits at this stage are mainly for people that work in the APY Lands or visiting a family member here or a contractor.”

Our experience with Ngaanyatjarra Council was a significant contrast to that with APY Executive. In April 2018, we applied for a permit to cross from Warburton to Wingellina, explaining that we would have just exited the Gunbarrel and would be applying for a permit to visit APY Land art centres. We also provided an assurance that, while travelling from Warburton to Wingellina, we would not enter any communities along this route e.g. Jamieson, Blackstone, Wingellina. We received our permit two days later (a pity that subsequently we were not able to use it, following our inability to receive a permit from APY Executive).

So in the end we did the very traditional and less exciting thing: after exiting the Gunbarrel, we travelled the Great Central Road to Yulara.

While we were out and about last year (2018), we came across some interesting and contrasting attitudes and practices by other travellers relating to the permit system and access to Aboriginal Lands. I will provide three examples.

Example one: just prior to our commencing the Gunbarrel, and while at Carnegie Station, we encountered a gentleman who chose not to apply for permits to access Aboriginal Lands. His justification was that, provided he did not invade the privacy of Aboriginal people by entering their communities, there was no issue with him sticking to traversing roads. He also argued that the permit system is a bureaucratic construct and at grass roots community level, Aboriginal people are not that bothered by respectful visitation.

Example two: while on the Gunbarrel, we bumped into a couple who described how they had set out on the Eagle Highway to visit the Warri site, but encountered the ‘no entry – Aboriginal Land’ sign. After some deliberation, which included a consideration of the fact that they could probably travel the road without detection, they decided not to proceed to the Warri site out of what they described as a respect for the wishes of Aboriginal people.

Example three: after exiting the Gunbarrel, we camped at Warakurna where we camped next to three families who were all related to each other. One of the families was from Queensland, another from Perth and the third family was from Victoria. Each family had travelled separately to Warakurna, which was their agreed meeting place prior to continuing on together on a joint family holiday.

The Victorian family accessed Warakurna by transiting the APY Lands. They chose not to apply for a Permit. They had determined that if they were stopped and asked for a permit, they would offer to pay the required permit fee. Their expectation seemed to be that their money would be accepted and that they would be allowed to proceed without any consequences (incidentally, they were not asked to present a permit).

I have been following the discussion (by Connie and Mick) on the Beadell Tours website about access to APY Lands permits. Some people have speculated on whether Richard King’s departure as General Manager will result in greater access to permits (off all types, including transit permits). I did some work in the APY Lands in the late 1990s and am aware that as far back as that time there was concern in the Lands about the impact on communities of the high level of visitation from all sources (in fact, my memory is that Umuwa was established as an administrative centre and ‘visitation buffer’ to reduce this impact).

It is pure speculation on my part by I suspect that Richard may have simply been taking a harder line on a long standing policy. His departure may make it easier for tour groups to get permits, but I suspect that general travellers like ourselves will still be up against it. But I repeat – that’s pure speculation in my part.

Here endeth this ‘war and peace’ saga!
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 14:35

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 14:35
A great update, thanks Ray...

As you highlighted there are people who will run the risk and not seek a permit, but agree or disagree with the system, it is what it is...

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - JIM F4 - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 15:15

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 15:15
Ray, great article, The Thread has certainly had some interesting replies. We dont leave until June, so will keep the forum updated when possible. ps We did a trip with the Beadells in 2015 and I follow their newsletters. I have had a reply from
Iwantja Arts at Indulkana stating that the art centre is not open at this stage for visits !! Waiting on 3 more art centres, Amata,Fregon & Kalka!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 18:16

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 18:16
All the very best with sorting out visits to the remaining arts centres, Jim. Not sure if this will be your first trip out through that country (maybe you got to go with Connie and Mick?). I was truly fortunate to do it for work twice back in 1998 - just imagine, I was getting paid to enjoy the magnificent views of the Mann and Musgrave Ranges. The trouble is I wasn't aware at that time of the significance of Len Beadell to that country: I would certainly view the road very differently if I could actually get to drive it now.

I am a bit envious that you have had the opportunity to travel with Connie and Mick. We (my wife Verity and I) have looked with great interest at their trips, but it hasn't quite happened for us yet.

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