Aviation environmental issues

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 and for developments to be 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, land use planning and protection of airspace.

  • The National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group (NASAG) is undertaking a review of Guideline C – Managing the Risk of Wildlife Strikes in the Vicinity of Airports.

    Consultation on the review Issues Paper closed on 16 December 2022.

    The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is leading this review on behalf of NASAG.

  • The purpose of the National Airports Safeguarding Framework is to enhance the current and future safety, viability and growth of aviation operations at Australian airports.

    The National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group, comprising high-level Commonwealth, State and Territory transport and planning officials, was responsible for preparation of the Framework.

    Outcomes from the most recent NASAG meeting can be found here.

  • In 2019 the National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group (NASAG) undertook a review of implementation of the National Airports Safeguarding Framework (NASF).

    Finalisation of the NASF Implementation Review and Forward Work Program was delayed following reallocation of resources arising from the COVID-19 crisis. A final report and Recommendations from the review will be released in the last quarter of 2021.

  • 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.

  • 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.