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Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Sunsetting of aviation legislation

On this page:

Introduction

The Australian Government is reviewing the legislative instruments under the Airports Act 1996 due to sunset on 1 April 2024 and 1 April 2025. The review presents an opportunity to examine the regulations thematically and modernise the current framework to reduce regulatory burden on the airports and related stakeholders. This is particularly important as the sector adapts to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and other structural challenges.

The regulations under review are:

  • Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996
  • Airports (Ownership—Interests in Shares) Regulations 1996
  • Airports Regulations 1997.
  • Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996
  • Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997
  • Airports (Protection of Airspace) Regulations 1996

A further 4 regulations affecting the operations of Sydney airport are being reviewed separately. These are:

Sunsetting date

On 24 August 2018, the Attorney-General agreed to align the sunsetting date for the following instruments to 1 April 2024 to facilitate a 'thematic review'. The Legislation (Airport Instruments) Sunset-altering Declaration 2018 commenced on 31 August 2018.

To help manage the project and assist stakeholders to balance their engagement in the review process and their recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, a deferral was sought and granted on 22 March 2022 to defer the sunsetting date to 1 April 2025 for the following instruments:

  • Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996
  • Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997
  • Airports (Protection of Airspace) Regulations 1996

Sunsetting process

The review is being undertaken in stages to enable stakeholders sufficient time to provide detailed feedback on discrete issues, while enabling related issues to be grouped and linked together. This approach will also ensure that a regulatory framework (including any transition arrangements) can be completed before the sunsetting date.
Feedback on each stage will inform the development of related later stages.  

Sunsetting date

On 24 August 2018, the Attorney-General agreed to align the sunsetting date for the following instruments to 1 April 2024 to facilitate a 'thematic review'. The Legislation (Airport Instruments) Sunset-altering Declaration 2018 commenced on 31 August 2018.

Consultation

We are working with all stakeholders in the development and implementation of the new regulatory framework for airports. In 2017 and 2018, considerable stakeholder engagement on the current regulations was undertaken with airports, airlines, state governments, Commonwealth agencies, councils and community groups. The feedback received has formed the basis for the reform options.

We are now inviting responses to a series of consultation papers based on each stage of the review.

The consultation papers for the current stage are listed below:

The consultation papers for previous stages, including published feedback, are listed below:

For more information please email the Aviation Reform team.

Sunsetting and why it matters

Sunsetting is the automatic repeal of legislative instruments after a fixed 10-year period. The Government’s sunsetting framework is set out in Part 4 of Chapter 3 of the Legislation Act 2003.

Sunsetting ensures legislative instruments are kept up to date and only remain in force for as long as they are needed. Sunsetting is used to determine whether the legislation:

  • remains fit for purpose and should be replaced by an instrument substantially the same in form
  • should be replaced with substantial changes and improvements, or
  • is spent or redundant and can be actively repealed or allowed to sunset without replacement.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) may be required if the sunsetting instrument is remade with amendments that will change some aspect of the substance or effect of the instrument.

Deregulation

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet administers the deregulation agenda, which focuses on reducing barriers affecting Australia’s productivity growth and competitiveness. The agenda also makes sure regulations are well-designed, fit-for-purpose and support businesses to grow and create jobs.

The policy objectives of the sunsetting regime intersect with the deregulation agenda, including consideration of available alternatives to regulation that can still meet public policy objectives.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has a significant role in guiding agencies going through sunsetting processes. OBPR establishes a framework through impact analysis, by which desirable policy objectives can be achieved alongside a reduction in unnecessary regulatory burden.

Further information is available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.