Image: Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

Australia has a rich and proud aviation heritage and the Coalition Government is committed to ensuring a prosperous future for this industry.

Aviation is critical for Australia connecting Australians domestically and across the world, directly contributing nearly $9.5 billion to the economy, and employing over 75,000 people at federally leased airports.

Recently, I took my children to the Rural Flying Doctor Service Broken Hill base and it was a reminder of the importance of connectivity and the need to have safe and efficient links between regional and remote communities and our cities.

Whether an airport is an international gateway like Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane or is a regional aerodrome or remote airstrip, they are all key links in our transport and supply chain network.

Securing our productivity and competitive edge is a major driver behind the Government’s $75 billion budget commitment in infrastructure funding over 10 years — including intermodals and upgraded road and rail connections to our air and sea ports. We are delivering the infrastructure that we need to secure a prosperous future and enable the aviation industry to continue to grow.

Our airports, already amongst the best in the world, are also upgrading infrastructure to improve capacity, safety and customer satisfaction.

I would like to congratulate Brisbane Airport on securing over $1.2 billion in private investment for the new runway scheduled to open in 2020. The new runway is the most important piece of aviation infrastructure being built in Queensland and the biggest undertaken by Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) since the airport was privatised in 1997.

In Victoria, Melbourne Airport is well advanced with planning for a third runway to meet forecast growth. The Coalition Government has also committed $30 million for the development of a business case for a rail link to the CBD to alleviate congestion on the Tullamarine Freeway.

In Tasmania, the Coalition Government is investing $38 million in funding assistance for the extension of the Hobart International Airport runway extension and associated works. This investment is part of $100 million redevelopment of the Hobart airport precinct with Hobart International Airport contributing the remaining $62 million. The upgrade will allow the airport to support larger passenger and freight aircraft,
increasing the ability of the airport to meet the needs of the Asian market and beyond.

The Government’s once in a generation decision to deliver Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek is a project that will generate thousands of jobs during construction and on-going employment in the airport itself and in the surrounding precinct.

It will benefit domestic travellers from the region and boost tourism opportunities. The Government has established the WSA Co with an investment of $5.3 billion in equity to build the airport.

The Government is also keenly aware of the importance of safe and functioning remote airstrips in keeping rural, regional and remote communities connected including access to essential health care services, fresh food and improved access to work and education opportunities.

Through the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme the Australian government has provided $23.4 million for 142 aerodrome upgrade projects to date and recently opened the applications for the next round of funding under this program.

Australia is amongst the safest skies in the world and the safety and security of Australians is the Turnbull-Joyce government’s highest priority.

The Federal Government is constantly reviewing our security responses.

We have outstanding security protocols designed to keep the travelling public safe in our airports and in our airspace, and the airport safety review that is currently underway will ensure that remains the case.

The Government will continue to work with industry in ensuring our policy settings remain appropriate for the future. In this regard I recently convened the inaugural Aviation Strategic Leaders Forum meeting, where we discussed the strategic drivers influencing aviation. I thank AAA for their participation in the Forum.

We have also established an industry-driven General Aviation Advisory Group to address concerns around the General Aviation sector. The advisory group will ensure the industry has a voice at the heart of Government by providing advice directly to me on matters affecting the sector.

I look forward to continuing to work with the aviation community on the growth of a safe, secure and sustainable Australian aviation industry.

Darren Chester
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport