Apr 10, 2008

A White Paper for Australia’s Aviation Future


A White Paper for Australia’s Aviation Future

Media Statement

Anthony Albanese MP,

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development, and Local Government

Leader of the House

April 10 2008

The Rudd Labor Government will develop Australia’s first ever comprehensive national aviation policy statement – or White Paper – to guide the industry’s growth over the next decade and beyond.

Almost a century after the birth of the Australian aviation industry, it has taken the election of the Rudd Labor Government to bring together all aspects of aviation policy into a single statement.

The aim of the White Paper will be simple: to provide greater planning and investment certainty for the industry as well as address the wider community and environmental impacts associated with air transport and airport development.

Without a coherent aviation policy framework to help us navigate rapidly changing domestic and global circumstances we will be flying blind.

As a first step on the road to the White Paper, today I am releasing an Issues Paper to stimulate public debate.

The Government is asking all those with an interest in the future of the Australian aviation industry to consider the questions posed by the Issues Paper – and then to come back to us with their input and ideas by the end of June.

Below is a list of the key challenges identified by the Issues Paper.

Based on the feedback generated by the Issues Paper, the Government will compile and release a Green Paper in September outlining possible policy directions, settings and reforms – providing yet another opportunity for public input.

Following this second round of consultation, the Government will finalise the White Paper, addressing each of the key short, medium and long term challenges identified.

This entire process will be completed by the middle of next year.

More than ever, the aviation industry underpins domestic economic growth and provides an essential gateway to the global economy.

At present, the aviation industry directly supports nearly 50,000 jobs and contributes $6.8 billion to Australia’s GDP.

Activity at Australian Airports

Since the mid-1980s, there has been an almost three fold increase in air travel, and predictions are it will double again within the next 20 years.

Much of this growth was the result of reforms initiated by the Hawke and Keating Labor governments – namely the end of the ‘two airline policy’ and the opening up of international routes to greater competition.

But with growth comes new challenges – and if we are to continue to benefit from the economic and social advantages of air travel we need to plan ahead.

The previous short term, ad-hoc, problem by problem approach is no longer tenable if Australia is to remain internationally competitive.

Importantly, while the Government will drive the process of developing the White Paper with energy and commitment,

we are keen for industry, other levels of government and the broader community to be involved every step of the way.

We want a shared response to our collective challenges.

I look forward to the community’s participation in shaping Australia’s aviation future.

The Issues Paper is available at: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/nap

Contact: Jeff Singleton 0410 476 890

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Issues Paper identifies a broad range of challenges, including:

  • Achieving an international air services policy which serves our national interest and balances the needs of an Australian based industry with international competitiveness.
  • Ensuring that aviation security is maintained as the highest priority in an era where planes and airports are still potential terrorist targets.
  • Making the safety of all planes and airports the highest priority for operators and ensuring safety regulations are both robust and efficient.
  • Addressing the shortage of pilots, aircraft engineers and air-traffic controllers.
  • Planning for the issues arising from the growth of low cost carriers, such as the increased passenger numbers at secondary airports.
  • Dealing with planning issues around airports in an integrated, considered way – rather than in an ad-hoc fashion.
  • Promoting a proper dialogue between airports and the communities around them.
  • Giving proper consideration to the importance of air freight to regional businesses, our export industries and our economic performance.
  • Tackling climate change, a focal point of transport policy for this and future generations.
  • Ensuring access to regular air services in regional and remote areas, where regular flights are essential for communities, regional development and social services.
  • Using satellite technology to better plan flight routes – potentially saving flight time, reducing emissions and improving safety.
  • Improving the governance arrangements for CASA and AirServices Australia to improve their relationships with industry and the community.
  • Ensuring that a vibrant general aviation industry is able to prosper as the nurturing ground for future commercial pilots and aviation workers.

Contact: Jeff Singleton 0410 476 890