Setting Australia’s aviation industry on course to recovery

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

The Liberal and Nationals Government is setting Australia’s aviation industry on a course to recovery, providing a platform from which it can return to pre-pandemic heights and drive Australia’s economic recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.

Since the pandemic began, the Government has committed over $5.3 billion in assistance to the aviation sector. This is in recognition of the critical role it plays in supporting jobs, driving economic growth and transporting people, goods and commodities to where they need to be.

The Government’s timely, proportionate and targeted support provided stability for airlines when planes were grounded and security for workers who were furloughed during the pandemic.

The Government’s Aviation Recovery Framework, released today, is a strategy developed with industry, for industry to help the sector navigate its way back to a position of strength.

Aviation is a key driver of economic activity. Prior to the pandemic, the sector supported over 90,000 jobs and thousands more across other sectors of the economy. Australia relies on aviation for our economic and social prosperity, to connect our communities and businesses with each other and to the world.

The Government responded to calls for support throughout the pandemic and now we are going a step further, ensuring the sector has the right policy and regulatory settings for aviation to thrive again.

Where possible, the Government is also working to reduce red tape and costs for industry. This will drive the sector’s recovery and support a strong, competitive, safe and sustainable aviation sector into the future, while also ensuring industry operators are in a stronger position to respond to future challenges.

The Framework is underpinned by six strategic priorities, including:

  • supporting aviation efficiency by targeting investment and enhancing regulatory settings to help businesses across the entire industry to thrive;
  • building a sustainable pipeline of workforce skills for the future;
  • adopting and integrating emerging aviation technologies, including drones;
  • modernising airports regulation to ensure Australia has the aviation infrastructure it needs for the future;
  • revitalising General Aviation to help it realise its potential in supporting business and the community, especially in our regions; and
  • better connecting regional communities by providing targeted support for access to essential aviation services and investing in regional aviation infrastructure.

To support the implementation of the Framework, a new Strategic Aviation Advisory Forum will advise the Government on progress of the sector’s recovery, as well as issues affecting the industry moving forward.

The Government has also renewed the membership of the General Aviation Advisory Network and will commission a targeted review of the Civil Aviation Act to identify any appropriate amendments necessary to enhance productivity, innovation and competiveness in the aviation industry.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the Government is putting the policy framework in place to help Australia’s aviation industry emerge bigger, better and stronger on the other side of the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation sector, with border closures and health safety measures limiting air travel for well over 18 months now,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“As a critical enabler of economic activity, the Government is focused on ensuring the industry returns to pre-pandemic levels as soon as it is safe to do so. We also want the sector to grow into the future.

“The Government’s Aviation Recovery Framework outlines our plans to help drive the sector’s recovery, in line with the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response.

“We are putting in place policies and regulation to foster a competitive, safe and secure aviation sector that all Australians can rely on, and not just for travel and leisure purposes.

“Aviation is integral to our national supply chains, providing essential services to regional and remote communities and connecting Australian businesses with international markets.

“Importantly, General Aviation is a key pillar in our strategy. This is in recognition of the many critical services it contributes to the sector, none more important than flight and maintenance training capability.

“The Framework builds on the assistance we have provided to date and will provide the policy and financial settings aviation operators need to recover strongly and grow on the other side of the pandemic.”

To boost the industry’s recovery and growth, the Government is providing further support, including:

  • a $30 million rebate program to support general and recreational aviation operators to install critical safety-boosting technology in their aircraft, enhancing safety outcomes across the sector;
  • a further $4 million to extend the Women in the Aviation Industry Initiative, to fund initiatives aimed at increasing the number of females working in the sector;
  • the $32.6 million Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program, which will accelerate the development of new aviation technology, such as drones;
  • extending the Regional Airline Network Support program until March 31 2022;
  • up to $29 million in grants under a third round of the Regional Airports Program to improve the safety and accessibility of airports or aerodromes in regional Australia; and
  • a further $15 million in grants to upgrade remote and very remote aerodromes across Australia under the Remote Airstrip Upgrade program.

These sector-wide measures will drive the goals of the Framework and will help Australia’s aviation industry to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity, and grow into the future.

The Government thanks the sector and members of the Future of Aviation Reference Panel and the General Aviation Advisory Network for their advice on policy directions.

A strong aviation sector is key to our economic recovery and future prosperity. The Government is committed to helping the sector thrive once more for the benefit of all Australians and we look forward to working closely with industry to achieve this.

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