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Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Safeguarding Airports and the Communities Around Them

Airports are critical pieces of national infrastructure and suitable locations for airports are scarce. The current and future viability of aviation operations at Australian airports can be threatened by inappropriate development. Communities under flight paths and near airports can be affected by issues including noise, development restrictions and safety risks.

In the interest of safety and public amenity, development needs to be carefully managed in the vicinity of airport operations.  However, there is also a need for airports to be easily accessible to population centres. There is a need to ensure that developments are undertaken in a way that is compatible with airport operations, both now and into the future.

This page includes information about the National Airports Safeguarding Framework, the review of Australia Standard 2021, protection of airspace and land use planning.

  • The National Airports Safeguarding Framework aims to safeguard airports and the communities in their vicinity and to develop, with state, territory and local governments, a national land use planning regime. The National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group, comprising high-level Commonwealth, State and Territory transport and planning officials, has prepared the National Airports Safeguarding Framework.

    Ministers agreed to implement the Safeguarding Framework at the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) meeting on 18 May 2012.

  • The section contains information about the review of Australian Standard AS 2021–2000: Acoustics—Aircraft noise intrusion—Building siting and construction.

  • Obstacles in the vicinity of an airport have the potential to create air safety hazards and to seriously limit the scope of aviation operations into and out of the airport. Activities that could result in a penetration of the protected airspace of leased federal airports must be approved prior to the proposed penetration. Regulations provide for the Department or the leased federal airport operator to approve applications to carry out controlled activities and to impose conditions on an approval.

  • Land use planning around airports is primarily the responsibility of local governments under guidance from state and territory planning law and policy. Effective land use planning is important in minimising incompatible activities which can occur in the vicinity of airports.

    Regulatory and management arrangements for planning around airports are addressed through a range of Commonwealth, State and Territory legislative and regulatory provisions. The department has provided submissions on planning proposals that may have an impact or be impacted by airport operations.


Last Updated: 18 September, 2013