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RFACA submission to Senate Enquiry into General Aviation

The Australian Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee is enquiring into the “current state of Australia’s general aviation industry, with particular reference to aviation in rural, regional and remote Australia. Its terms of reference are to consider the operation and effectiveness of CASA and other agencies, the safety and economic impacts of regulation and CASA’s decisions, and CASA’s processes and functions.

Like a number of other industry bodies, RFACA has made a written submission to the enquiry.

RFACA Submission

The full terms of reference and the other industry submissions can be found here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/GeneralAviation

Warnervale Airport

A strangely formulated and unique NSW law could have been used to render Warnervale Airport unviable and end its contribution to aviation on the Central Coast.

The Federation has always stood by individual aero clubs and we sought to assist. We found a contradictory situation where the prior council valued the airfield so highly that it intended funding its expansion to take regional RPT aircraft. Yet the current council wished to wield the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act to make even GA operations from the airfield uneconomic. Such was the local annoyance that a State government review of the Act was initiated.

The RFACA engaged with the Central Coast Aero Club and sought out views on the airfield’s economic and safety contribution from users and the aviation industry. We also assessed the views of the local group that wanted the Act strictly enforced.

Despite being a significant regional economic and community issue, neither the Commonwealth Minister and nor aviation regulators appeared interested in acting to preserve this aviation asset. Fortunately, the local state member Adam Crouch MP (Lib Terrigal), who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, got involved and ensured serious consideration of the issues and orderly discourse.

The RFACA made a written submission to the Review Committee and a Federation director attended the formal hearing at the council chambers in Wyong.

It is now reported that the Act will be repealed after an overwhelming response from the community, with more than 75% of submissions to the review supporting the airport and calling for repeal.

Mr Crouch said the NSW Government will introduce legislation in September to implement the recommendations, starting with the abolition of the daily take-off and landing caps. A staged repeal will follow in collaboration with the Central Coast Council, which will ensure appropriate planning controls and plans of management are in place to govern and manage the future operations of the Airport.

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