Other transport programs

Program 2.4-Air transport


The Department supported the Minister to complete and publish the Australian Government's Aviation White Paper as a comprehensive statement of national aviation policy.

The Aviation White Paper was launched by the Minister on 16 December 2009 setting out a range of policy settings and initiatives for the Australian aviation industry over the next 20 years. The White Paper details over 130 initiatives for implementation following an extensive process of public consultation and policy analysis. Some initiatives were implemented immediately, others require enabling legislation or further input from stakeholders and consideration by the Australian Government.

The Department provided assessments of eight airport master plans, 15 airport environment strategies and four major development plans to the Minister for consideration. This resulted in the Minister approving master plans for Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Jandakot, Launceston and Moorabbin airports and rejecting the master plan for Parafield Airport.

Airport environment strategies were approved for Adelaide, Alice Springs, Archerfield, Bankstown, Brisbane, Camden, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Jandakot, Moorabbin, Parafield, Perth, Sydney, and Townsville airports. Approval was granted for four major development plans.

The Department negotiated enhanced air services arrangements with a number of countries including China, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.


Program 2.4 was delivered through the work of the Aviation and Airports Division supported by the aviation data and research services provided by BITRE, ensuring that the aviation industry operated within a clear and robust safety regulatory environment and by facilitating access to competitive international and domestic air services for Australian businesses and consumers.

Program 2.4 included the following administered items:

  • Airport Lessee Companies-reimbursement of parking fines
  • Compensation for the sale of airport land
  • Fort Street High School-noise insulation[1]
  • Implementation of noise amelioration for Adelaide and Sydney Airports
  • International Civil Aviation Organization-contribution
  • Payment scheme for Airservices Australia's en route charges
  • Remote Aerodrome Safety
  • Sydney West Airport-rental properties, and
  • Payments to CAC Act bodies-CASA

The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.

Summary of performance

Tables 4.10 and 4.11 summarise the Department's results in delivering Program 2.4 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets published in the 2009–10 PBS.

Table 4.10 Summary of performance-Program 2.4 key performance indicators
Key performance indicator Target Result
Policy advice is influential in the Government's response to current and emerging international and domestic aviation industry issues. Draft White Paper is endorsed by Government. Achieved
The Aviation White Paper, identifying more than 130 initiatives, was launched by the Minister on 16 December 2009. Implementation of initiatives commenced immediately. Funding was allocated in the 2010–11 Budget, enabling legislation was progressed through Parliament, and new regulations were established.
Aviation regulation, policies and administered items effectively support future investment in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible aviation infrastructure. Ongoing investment in infrastructure by government agencies and industry. Achieved
Airservices Australia has committed to invest almost $900 million in air traffic and rescue and firefighting infrastructure over five years.

The Aviation White Paper includes initiatives to facilitate airport industry investment.
Results Key  
Not achieved None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2009–10
Partially achieved Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed
Substantially achieved Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed
Achieved All targets for 2009–10 were met or exceeded

1 National Partnership Payment components that were previously part of the Fort Street High School-noise insulation administered item are now appropriated through the Treasury. Further information on these arrangements can be found in that department's Portfolio Budget Statements and in Budget Paper No. 3, Australia's Federal Relations 2009–10.

Table 4.11 Summary of performance-Program 2.4 deliverables
Deliverable Target Result
Aviation industry operates within a clear and robust regulatory framework. New aviation safety agency governance arrangements implemented. Aviation White Paper completed. Finalise review of air carriers' liability. Smooth and effective introduction of new governance arrangements for aviation safety agencies. The Aviation While Paper was completed and released. Amendments were made to the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 to implement new agency governance arrangements.

The new Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Board and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Commission were appointed.

Key outcomes of the review of air carriers' liability were announced in the Aviation White Paper.
Businesses and consumers have access to competitive international and domestic air services. Agreements which provide increased flexibility and capacity are established, consistent with Government policy. 10 sets of air services talks with key countries. Updated air services agreements/arrangements were negotiated with six countries. A range of matters were discussed by correspondence with a further six countries.

Discussions continued with the European Commission on the proposed comprehensive air services agreement with the European Union.
Leased airports are regulated in accordance with the Airports Act 1996. Master Plans and Major Development Plans assessed in accordance with legislative requirements and advice provided to Minister. Master and Major Development Plans assessed in accordance with legislative requirements. The Department assessed a number of airport statutory planning documents and provided advice to the Minister in accordance with the requirements of the Airports Act 1996. The documents included master plans for the Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Jandakot, Launceston, Moorabbin and Perth airports.
Aviation environmental impact on communities including aircraft noise is monitored, to ensure operator compliance with airport curfews; implementation of Government's noise amelioration programs (Adelaide and Fort Street); and appropriate noise disclosure in Airport Master Plans. Dispensation reports tabled; successful prosecution of curfew breaches; insulation expenditure recouped through industry levy in timely manner; stakeholders informed of noise impacts in Master Plans. Dispensation reports were tabled for all curfewed airports. All compliance with curfew requirements was monitored and enforced.

Collection of the aircraft noise levy at Adelaide Airport ceased on 31 March 2010, following collection of adequate funds to complete the program.

Eight airport master plans approved by the Minister included noise disclosure information.
Efficient and effective management of administered items. Items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. Administered items were administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance.
ANAO = Australian National Audit Office

Table 4.12 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 2.4.

Table 4.12 Summary of performance-Program 2.4 administered items
Administered item Result
Airport Lessee Companies-reimbursement of parking fines The Department reimbursed the participating airports an agreed proportion of parking infringement revenue collected and remitted to the Commonwealth.
Compensation for the sale of airport land No program activity during 2009–10 (no budget, no expenditure)
Fort Street High School-noise insulation The New South Wales Government is managing this project on behalf of the Commonwealth under a National Partnership Agreement. The project is being carried out over a series of stages to minimise the impact on students and school operations. Payments are made on completion of milestones and progress reports.
Implementation of noise amelioration for Adelaide and Sydney Airports Insulation work commenced on two churches that were identified as eligible buildings in 2008–09. All other insulation works are complete.
International Civil Aviation Organization-contribution Australia actively participated in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council during 2009–10, with two employees based in the Montreal office representing Australia in ICAO Council matters and on the ICAO Air Navigation Commission. Australia's annual contribution was paid during January 2010.
Payment scheme for Airservices Australia's en route charges 22 airlines sought assistance during 2009–10. The Department paid invoices in a timely manner, conducting payment runs weekly.
Remote Aerodrome Safety Upgrades to a total of 44 aerodromes in remote locations across Australia were approved for funding under the program in 2009–10. These upgrades improved safety and access for aircraft operators and their passengers, through a range of infrastructure measures such as:
  • runway sealing, resealing and pavement repairs
  • installation of runway lighting to enable night operations, including medical evacuations, and
  • installation of animal-proof perimeter fences.
Sydney West Airport-rental properties The Department effectively administered the leases to ensure that the Australian Government met its obligations as a landlord. This included authorising maintenance and paying water and land rates.

Detailed report on performance

The following report is against the components of Program 2.4 as set out in the 2009–10 PBS.

I. Development of a National Aviation Policy White Paper

The Aviation White Paper, Flight Path to the Future, was released on 16 December 2009.

In the six months after its release, many of its 130 policy initiatives were implemented. Processes are in place to plan and progress the remaining initiatives.

New funding of $200.0 million over four years was provided in the 2010–11 Budget to invest in new and improved security technologies for passenger and luggage screening, increased policing at airports, and enhanced security procedures (including securing the air cargo supply chain), as well as strengthened international cooperation.

An additional $89.9 million over four years was provided in the 2010–11 Budget for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the aviation safety regulator. The funding will enable the recruitment of frontline safety staff, expanded surveillance and ongoing investment in training, while securing CASA's long-term funding needs.

On 24 June 2010, the Airports Amendment Bill 2010 was introduced into Parliament. The amendments in the Bill will give effect to several Aviation White Paper initiatives to improve planning at Australia's major airports. The Bill provides for implementation of:

  • a requirement for more detailed master plans, incorporating ground transport plans and airport environment strategies, and a reduced requirement for major development plan assessments for low-impact aviation facilities
  • a requirement that all developments with a significant economic or social impact on communities must go through a major development plan assessment, which will enable the Australian Government to better assess the impact of airport development on surrounding communities-this trigger will be supplemented by administrative guidelines which are being developed in consultation with industry
  • a strengthened barrier to prevent incompatible developments, such as residential developments and schools, on federal airport sites, unless exceptional circumstances exist, and
  • a provision giving the Minister discretion to reduce the public comment period around major development plans if the material features of the proposed development have already been addressed in master plan consultations.

Initiatives are also in progress to establish:

  • the Sydney Aviation Capacity Study, in partnership with the New South Wales Government, to identify a strategy to address Sydney's future needs for airport and related infrastructure, and
  • regulations to prohibit or restrict the operation of older, noisy jet aircraft.

II. Maintaining aviation safety

Air traffic management

The Department provides policy and governance advice to the Government on air traffic management issues.

Following consultation with government aviation agencies and industry, in December 2009 the Minister released an updated Australian Airspace Policy Statement, which came into effect on 1 January 2010. The new statement emphasises the safety of passenger transport services as the first priority in airspace administration, and outlines three specific airspace policy objectives related to support for international harmonisation, enhanced services to regional aerodromes and effective cooperation between agencies.

The four major government agencies involved in aviation policy, regulation and service provision-the Department, Airservices Australia, CASA and the Royal Australian Air Force-continued to work together on a range of aviation policy issues which have cross-agency implications.

The Secretary of the Department is Chair of the Aviation Policy Group; the group's other members are the chief executive officers of the two portfolio agencies and the Chief of the Air Force. While the group offers a forum to maintain strong working relationships between the agencies and coordinate joint action where appropriate, each agency retains the individual authority and accountability for its own functions at all times.

The Aviation Policy Group met six times during 2009–10, and discussed issues such as the finalisation of proposed air traffic management policy initiatives for the Aviation White Paper, civil and military aviation harmonisation, airspace management, technology and ICAO-related matters.

The supporting Aviation Implementation Group, also chaired by the Department and including senior officials from each of the three key government aviation agencies, continued to develop advice on issues identified by the Aviation Policy Group. The implementation group set up improved arrangements for working with the Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group, the industry advisory group on air traffic management issues.

Participation in international forums

The Department, in conjunction with CASA and Airservices Australia, maintained an office at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada. The two departmental employees based in Montreal provided strong representation of Australian interests through their roles on the ICAO Council and Air Navigation Commission. The Department administered Australia's annual ICAO contribution.

The Department also participated in an interagency delegation which attended the High-Level Safety Conference convened by ICAO in March 2010. The conference considered a range of initiatives for addressing safety matters, as well as ICAO's role in monitoring and reporting on safety oversight in member states. The Australian delegation made positive contributions to the outcomes of the conference, particularly in relation to ICAO's proposed continuous monitoring approach to reviewing state safety systems and the sharing and protection of safety data and information. The outcomes of this conference will be considered by the ICAO triennial assembly in September-October 2010, leading to specific actions for the ICAO Secretariat and member states.

Throughout 2009–10, the Department led an interagency working group managing the implementation of the Corrective Action Plan that resulted from the February 2008 ICAO audit of Australia's safety system. The Department provided regular reports on progress to the Aviation Implementation Group and the Aviation Policy Group. By 30 June 2010, 60 corrective actions had been completed and more than 60 per cent of the audit findings had been addressed.

The Department also participated in a range of other international forums, and presented papers to the Directors General of Civil Aviation Conference held in Japan during November 2009.

Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region

The Department took part in projects to assist Australia's neighbours to improve the safety, security and effectiveness of their air transport regulation. This included providing policy, safety and security advisers to Papua New Guinea through the Strongim Gavman Program, and assistance to the Pacific Aviation Safety Office through the Pacific Public Sector Linkages Program (formerly known as the Pacific Governance Support Program).

In November 2009, senior transport officials from Australia and Papua New Guinea signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the transport sector. Four annexes were also signed, covering initial work programs in the areas of accident investigation, aviation safety regulation, air traffic management and transport policy.

The Department continued to coordinate the Australian Government's Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package, for which funding has been extended to 2014. The package provides technical and training assistance to support Indonesia in addressing its aviation, maritime and road transport safety challenges. The support is provided through the Department, Airservices Australia (ASA), AMSA, the ATSB and CASA. Significant outcomes during 2009–10 included:

  • the completion of two civil joint Australia-Indonesia search and rescue exercises, and
  • the delivery of:
  • air navigation-specific safety management and awareness training for more than 100 air navigation staff
  • human factors training for accident investigators, and
  • training in inspector mentoring, including lead auditing, human factors and safety management systems.

Aviation safety regulation

The Department worked closely with CASA and ASA to help ensure the safety of the aviation sector, and provided strategic oversight advice to the Minister on the operations of CASA and ASA.

In 2009–10 CASA and ASA both completed corporate plans and statements of intent in relation to their future operations, in response to the Australian Government's specific statements of expectations for both organisations. The statements of expectations and intent are published on the agencies' websites.

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Last Updated: 24 October, 2014