Western Australia prepares for move eastwards

WA IS on the move – all 2,525,500 square kilometres of it!

That was the warning issued by the Department of Land Administration to land owners and leaseholders.

The warning comes as WA, along with the rest of Australia, ‘prepares’ to shift approximately 200 metres in a north-easterly direction.

The change in specific references on all maps and databases will follow a change to Australia’s geodetic datum, or coordinated reference system, to bring it into line with the rest of the world.

Australia, as an island continent, has had a mapping and geodetic coordination system since the 1960s that was purposely offset and tilted to more closely fit the Australian region at the expense of compatibility with the rest of the world.

The change has the potential to cause problems for mining and exploration companies, petroleum permits and organisations such as government departments, engineers, surveyors and local governments.

People such as crayfishermen, prospectors and yachtsmen who use a global positioning system in conjunction with maps or databases will need to ensure their GPS receiver is configured to the same datum as the map or database they are using.

Department of Land Administra-tion Geocentric Datum of Australia consultant Robert Holloway says the change was as big as the switch to decimal currency in 1966.

Mr Holloway said mining companies were worried about gaining or losing ground but had been assured this would not happen.

“If someone thought they were outside their lease and they were actually in the lease problems could arise,” he said.

In relation to private property, he said there would be no concerns as the properties were identified by markings and their surroundings rather than purely by the coordinated reference system.

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