Aviation Sunsetting

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What is sunsetting and why it matters

Sunsetting provisions in legislation provide that the law ceases to have effect after a specific date unless further legislative action is taken to extend that law. Most jurisdictions in Australia have sunsetting regimes. The sunsetting regime in the Australian Government context is set out in the Legislation Act 2003. This provides for all instruments to be sunset 10 years after registration.

Sunsetting is an important mechanism for the Australian Government to implement policies to reduce red tape, deliver clearer laws, and align existing legislation with current government policy.

The idea is that if the instrument is automatically repealed, the rule-maker will be compelled to consider whether it continues to be necessary and, if so, will remake it in an updated form.

Sunsetting supplements the ordinary rules of good administration and law-making, which are that laws should:

  • only be made when they are necessary;
  • should be kept up-to-date; and
  • should be repealed when they are no longer necessary.


The policy objectives of the sunsetting regime intersect with the deregulation agenda, in particular that rules do not multiply unchecked on the statute books, and when making new regulations, (or remaking sunsetting regulations) that due consideration is given to available alternatives to regulation that can still meet public policy objectives. As such the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has a significant role in guiding agencies going through sunsetting processes. OPBR establishes a framework, through Regulation Impact Statements (RIS) by which desirable policy objectives can be achieved alongside a reduction in unnecessary regulatory burden.

Further information can be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

Regulation impact statement requirements

A RIS is required to be prepared by agencies when they propose to introduce new regulation or amend existing legislation where it is likely to have a regulatory impact on business.

It is in line with the Australian Government commitment to cutting existing red tape and limiting the flow of new regulation. This entails that every policy option must be fully assessed, its likely impact costed and a range of viable alternatives considered in a transparent and accountable way.

If the review of sunsetting instruments finds that any instruments are no longer fit for purpose and need to be remade with amendments, or different regulatory impact, we will need to work with stakeholders to develop RIS.

Sunsetting process

List of sunsetting instruments

The Aviation and Airports Division administers a range of legislation. The following list details the timeline for instruments within the Division sunsetting over the next three years, as well as the instrument's primary legislation. Click on the links below for the corresponding list of that year's sunsetting instruments.

  • 2018—consultation commenced April 2017 PDF: 99 KB
  • 2019—consultation commencing mid-September 2017 PDF: 111 KB
  • 2020—no consultation planned until mid 2018 PDF: 95 KB

Process map and indicative timeline

The department's process for regulations sunsetting in April 2019 involves identifying sunsetting regulations and reviewing these internally in July 2017. Initial consultation with affected stakeholders and development of options to address concerns is undertaken from September 2017. In February 2018 the Department will consult further with stakeholders on the options for re-making of regulations. Depending on outcomes of final consultation, regulations will either be repealed, re-made with amendments or re-made without amendments in July 2018.

Note: for an April 2019 sunsetting date.


Consultation processes and timelines will differ between instruments depending upon their enabling instrument and sunsetting date.

Consultation groups

Group 1: Airports Act 1996 and Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997

Consultation on instruments made under the Airports Act 1996 and the Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997 will commence shortly.

These instruments are:

Airports Act 1996
Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996
Airports (Ownership-Interests in Shares) Regulations 1996
Airports Regulations 1997
Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997
Airports (Control of On-Airport Activities) Regulations 1997
Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997
Sydney Airport Demand Management Regulations 1998

Preliminary indicative consultation dates for these instruments are:

  1. First consultation: mid-September 2017
  2. Second consultation: options discussion paper—January/February 2018
  3. Third consultation: regulations exposure draft—May 2018

Please note dates are indicative only and may be subject to change.

First consultation

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is now seeking feedback on group 1 sunsetting instruments via the online survey. The online survey is designed to gather information from interested stakeholders in respect of the threshold question for remaking sunsetting instruments—is it fit for purpose? The survey is also designed to minimise burden on stakeholders, and ensure preliminary views are able to be taken into account in the development of options for the 2nd round consultations scheduled for early 2018.

Online Survey

For enquiries, please email sunsetting.airports@infrastructure.gov.au


Last Updated: 23 October, 2017