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NEAT Policy Statement

On 6 May 2021, the former government released the National Emerging Aviation Technologies (NEAT) Policy Statement as part of the 2021-22 Budget’s Digital Economy Strategy. The policy statement sets out how Government will support individuals, businesses and industry to adopt new and emerging digital aviation technology.

  • National Emerging Aviation Technologies Policy Statement PDF: 4272 KB

As part of the policy statement, the former government committed to a range of whole-of-government initiatives that will create an efficient and adaptable operational ecosystem for emerging aviation technologies.

These initiatives include development of Australia’s Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management system, regulatory modernisation and providing industry support.

The department is consulting with state, territory and local governments, relevant Commonwealth agencies and authorities, and industry stakeholders on these initiatives.

National Drone Detection Network

A National Drone Detection Network is being developed to support an increase in drone use. It will facilitate the monitoring of drone activities to protect people, property, and events in the air and on the ground. The system will consist of a network of drone detection sensors, linked to a central database, which will filter and provide appropriate data to a wide range of users.

Drone Rule Management System

A Drone Rule Management System is being developed to coordinate and manage operating rules for drones from different agencies across Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments. This will include operating boundaries or rules related to security, noise, privacy, environmental impacts and cultural sites.

Unmanned Traffic Management

The government will introduce an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) system.

The UTM will support the management of a range of risks and impacts associated with emerging aviation technologies, including safety, security, noise, privacy and environmental issues. It will be refined and improved as necessary to address developments in technology.

The department will prepare an Action Plan for the development, deployment and management of the UTM based on advice and input from industry, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Airservices Australia, the Department of Defence and other relevant government agencies and regulators.

Infrastructure Planning Framework

The department is developing a NEAT infrastructure planning framework consisting of clear principles and processes to ensure effective and efficient coordination of planning decisions related to construction and operation of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) and drone take-off, delivery and landing sites.

The planning framework will consider supporting infrastructure requirements, design standards, safety, access, and other operational requirements, in preparation for the future uses of large scale drones, eVTOL aircraft and Advanced Air Mobility services, such as air taxis.

All these initiatives form part of an integrated, inter-related and open ecosystem, as set out in Figure 1, with each component communicating information between other components in the system.

Figure 1: Diagram demonstrating how the different elements of the National Emerging Aviation Technologies Ecosystem could work cooperatively.

National Emerging Aviation Technologies Ecosystem

Other reports and publications

The NEAT Policy Statement was created after rigorous community and industry consultation and input, research and economic benefits analysis.

Drones to deliver jobs and economic growth—Economic report

In October 2020, the department commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to quantify the potential economic benefits and savings emerging aviation technologies could have on the Australian economy over the next five, 10 and 20 year periods.

Key findings include:

  • Creation and support of 5,500 full time equivalent jobs.
  • $14.5 billion increase in GDP over the next 20 years – of which $4.4 billion would be in regional areas across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
  • Cost savings of $9.3 billion over the next 20 years, with $2.95 billion of this in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, $2.4 billion in mining and $1.34 billion in construction.

The full report can be accessed below:

  • Economic Benefit Analysis of Drones to Australia PDF: 1938 KB

National Aviation Policy Issues Paper on Emerging Aviation Technologies

As part of the development of the NEAT Policy Statement, in September 2020 the department released a National Aviation Policy Issues Paper on Emerging Aviation Technologies for industry and broader stakeholder consultation.

This paper was the first step towards development of a national policy for the management of drones and other emerging aviation technologies. It:

  • identified key opportunities and risks associated with these technologies
  • outlined some of the current approaches for managing these issues and
  • proposed broad future policy directions.
  • National Aviation Policy Issues Paper on Emerging Aviation Technologies PDF: 2139 KB

The department received comments and submissions in response to the paper, and is conducting further consultations. The submission are available at Submissions received on the National Aviation Policy Issues Paper on Emerging Aviation Technologies.