Planning for Airports in Victoria
These pages explain the role of the planning system in protecting our airports, their operations and the communities around them. You can find information on planning for airports and the consideration of noise and protected airspace among other important safeguarding issues.
Melbourne's airports (including Melbourne, Avalon, Essendon and Moorabbin) and Victoria's RAAF Bases (Point Cook and East Sale) are important infrastructure assets and are vital to the city's social connectivity and economic prosperity. Victoria's many regional airports (including Ballarat, Bendigo, Hamilton, Latrobe Valley, Mildura, Mt Hotham and Portland) also make significant social and economic contributions to their regions and the State.
Land use planning decisions should recognise and respond to potential safeguarding issues in the immediate vicinity of airports and their broader environs. These issues include noise, protected airspace, wildlife strikes, lighting distractions to pilots, wind turbines, and building generated windshear / turbulence.
The Victorian Government has taken significant steps towards safeguarding airports, including best practice guidance implemented through state planning policy, and works with airport operators, the Commonwealth Government and the Australian Airports Association to help ensure that planning around airports considers the potential safety and amenity impacts on surrounding communities and that airport operations are protected.
Legislation regulating airport operations, planning and development
Airport operations, planning and development are informed by a legislative and policy framework that is administered across all levels of government. This varies according to the ownership and function of the airport (e.g. Commonwealth leased airports, Defence airbases and council or privately owned/operated airports). Master Plans and Major Development Plans are among the requirements of legislation regulating on-airport development, including at Victoria's Commonwealth leased airports.
The National Airports Safeguarding Framework
The National Airports Safeguarding Framework is a national land use planning approach that is being implemented in planning systems across Australia to ensure an appropriate balance between the social, economic and environmental needs of communities and the effective use of airport sites. The National Airports Safeguarding Framework was agreed to by Commonwealth, State and Territory transport ministers at the meeting of the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure in May 2012.
The nature of airport operations means a certain level of aircraft noise is unavoidable. While technology advances and improved airspace management will mitigate some of the noise, areas surrounding airports will continue to be affected. Managing the use and development of land in airport environs is necessary to protect flight paths from inappropriate sensitive development and the subsequent exposure of further people to aircraft noise. The National Airports Safeguarding Framework addresses aircraft noise through Guideline A: Measures for Managing Impacts of Aircraft Noise.
Structures such as buildings, cranes, and plume stacks and emissions, even trees have the potential to create air safety hazards and compromise the efficiency and capacity of airports. The protection of operational airspace is important to ensure aircraft safety and the efficiency of airports. The National Airports Safeguarding Framework addresses protected airspace through Guideline F: Managing the Risk of Intrusions into the Protected Operational Airspace of Airports.
Current initiatives and next steps
The Victorian Government has committed to review the Melbourne Airport Environs Strategy Plan, update the Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay and support a training program on planning for airports and their environs. Standards Australia has also published revised Standard AS2021-2015 and draft Handbook SA HB 149 for describing and explaining aircraft noise impacts.
Further airport information
For details of Victoria's local government owned and operated airports refer to the relevant council website: www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/local-government/find-your-local-council
The Australian Airports Association has published National Airports Safeguarding Framework related guidance material for airport operators: www.airports.asn.au/public/policy-publication
The Department has published guidance on using Victoria's planning system, including airport related content:
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has produced a Defence Technologies Sector Strategy highlighting the aerospace industry's significant contribution to Victoria's economy. The strategy is available on Business Victoria's Future Industries page.