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Sunsetting of aviation legislation

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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The idea is that if the instrument is automatically repealed, the rule-maker will be compelled to consider whether it continues to be necessary and, if so, will remake it in an updated form.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  • should be repealed when they are no longer necessary.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 Department of Jobs and Small Business administers the deregulation agenda. 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.

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 Jobs and Small Business website and 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.

A RIS may be required if the sunsetting regulatory instrument is remade with amendments that will change some aspect of the substance or effect of the instrument.

Sunsetting process

List of sunsetting instruments

The Aviation and Airports Division administers a range of legislation. Click on the link below for the list of instruments within the Division sunsetting over the next few years, as well as the instrument's primary legislation.

  • Aviation and Airports Division sunsetting instruments table PDF: 103 KB

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.

The regulations now sunsetting on 1 April 2024 are:


The Department has been reviewing the airport-related regulations through the sunset process over the last 12-14 months. To date, the review process has included workshops, an online survey and circulation of discussion papers.

First-pass stakeholder consultation occurred during September and November 2017 and involved direct communication with key stakeholders whose rights and interests are most impacted by the regulations, combined with an online survey available for completion by all interested parties.

Second round consultation occurred late January and early February 2018 for airport-lessee companies and focused on informal discussion and engagement over potential options to address stakeholders' identified issues. The overall outcomes of consultation show the regulations remain necessary and must be remade.

The Department is continuing the review process to remake the regulations and will work in partnership with airport-lessee companies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure best practice regulation is achieved.

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