Dec 16, 2009

National Aviation Policy Statement released

National Aviation Policy Statement released

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

December 16 2009

The Rudd Labor Government has today released its National Aviation Policy Statement, a road map to help secure the future of the industry while maintaining the highest safety and security standards and addressing community needs.

The National Aviation Policy is about giving industry the certainty and incentives to plan and invest for the long term, strengthening safety and security and addressing the needs of travellers, airport users and communities affected by aviation activity.

Globally, aviation is dealing with the impacts of the worst economic crisis in its almost 100-year history.

The Rudd Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan has helped make Australian airlines more resilient during the global recession by sustaining consumer demand.

It is clear that we need to take a strategic, planned approach in preparing for future economic, security and environmental challenges.

The National Aviation Policy, “Flight Path to the Future”, outlines more than 130 policy initiatives, as part of a comprehensive forward-looking framework to guide future growth.

Major issues addressed in the policy include the following:

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Safety and security remains the Government’s number one priority in aviation. The Government will implement a range of measures to:

  • strengthen baggage and passenger screening requirements;
  • tighten the Aviation Security Identification Card Scheme;
  • improve security screening standards and training programs;
  • modernise air traffic management, including the use of satellite technology; and
  • provide further funding to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and introduce long term funding principles to strengthen its regulatory oversight and operations.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

The Government will take a competition-based approach that increases choice and flexibility while securing our national interest. We will:

  • pursue a new generation of liberalised air service agreements that include open capacity, safety, security, the environment, competition and investment;
  • retain the restriction of 49 per cent restriction on foreign investment in Australian international airlines but remove the secondary restrictions applying only to Qantas preventing overseas individuals and foreign airlines holding more than 25 per cent and 35 per cent ownership; and
  • encourage international airlines to increase services to secondary international gateways like Cairns, Darwin and Broome.

PASSENGER BENEFITS AND CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

The Government will introduce a number of practical and common sense measures to provide a better and safer travelling experience for passengers.

These changes will better align Australia with international standards. They include:

  • allowing duty-free liquid purchases to remain on board aircraft during transitional stops on international flights;
  • removing items such as knitting needle and nail clippers from the Prohibited Items list to allow security screeners to focus on items of real risk;
  • allowing airlines and airport outlets to provide metal cutlery;
  • increase caps on compulsory insurance for airlines and liability for domestic passenger travel following air accidents;
  • working with the industry and disability advocates to improve access to air services; and
  • establishing customer service charters for airlines and an industry ombudsman to monitor complaints.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

The Government strongly supports continued investment in airport and aviation infrastructure. Development at our airports must be planned, and communities properly consulted. Our policy initiatives include:

  • prohibiting developments incompatible with aviation use on federal airport sites unless exceptional circumstances exist, and making sure nearby developments are compatible with airports’ core activities and long term planning;
  • requiring federal airports to establish Community Aviation Consultation Groups;
  • requiring federal airports to submit more detailed Master Plans; and
  • establishing a planning taskforce with the NSW Government to identify strategies and locations to meet additional aviation capacity for the Sydney region.

The Government will also address the impacts of aircraft noise by:

  • establishing a new Aircraft Noise Ombudsman;
  • regulating to stop older, noisier aircraft flying over residential areas;
  • maintain curfews at Sydney, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Essendon Airports.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Aviation must play its part in tackling the challenge of climate change. The Government will:

  • work with the industry to undertake practical measures, such as using more fuel-efficient aircraft and better air traffic management to shorten flights;
  • include domestic aviation in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation that we will reintroduce into Parliament in 2010; and
  • continue to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization to establish a framework for the treatment of international aviation emissions without unfairly disadvantaging Australia’s international airlines.

REGIONAL AND REMOTE AVIATION

The Government will encourage air services and access to regional and remote locations through a range of measures, including:

  • consolidating existing funding programs into a coordinated single program;
  • better targeting of the Airservices Enroute Charge subsidy; and
  • maintaining regional slots and pricing rules for regional airlines at Sydney Airport.

GENERAL AVIATION

The Government recognises the importance of general aviation in supporting a range of industries and training ground future pilots. We will:

  • ensure airport master plans maintain a strong focus on aviation development at secondary airports; and
  • cap overall regulatory service fees at current real levels for at least five years.

INDUSTRY SKILLS AND PRODUCTIVITY

The Government will introduce a number of policy measures to ensure a well-trained and highly-skilled workforce in aviation. These include:

  • streamlining the process for aviation training organisations to access VET FEE-HELP; and
  • expanding the role of Industry Skills Councils in developing nationally consistent training programs.

Australian aviation is a major economic driver, supporting more than half a million jobs and injecting nearly $6.3 billion into the economy.

In the last financial year, domestic airlines carried more than 50 million passengers and 23 million aircraft journeys were made to and from Australia.

The National Aviation Policy balances the need for economic growth and investment with security and safety priorities and the rights of communities and travellers.

The policy was developed following rigorous public consultation, including over 530 submissions from the industry, state and local governments and the community.

The full White Paper is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au.