The Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development has launched an aviation recovery framework aimed at rebuilding the workforce and upgrading regional infrastructure.
The Aviation Recovery Framework, which was released December 20, 2021, is a strategy developed with aviation industry members to help the sector navigate its way back to a position of strength.
In a statement, the Australian government said that it believes aviation is a key driver of economic activity. Prior to the pandemic, the aviation sector supported over 90,000 jobs and thousands more across other sectors of the economy. The statement also noted that Australia relies on aviation for its economic and social prosperity. The industry also connects communities and businesses with each other and the rest of the world.
Funding of the framework includes:
$55 million (AU 78 million) in new funding, including $2.8 million (AU 4 million) to increase the number of women in the sector and $10.67 (AU 15 million) to upgrade remote aerodromes.
Another $20 million (AU 29 million) will be made available through the third round of a regional aviation infrastructure program. A $21 million ($30 million) rebate program will help general and recreational aviation operators upgrade aircraft safety.
All these are additions to the $ 3.77 billion (AU $5.3 billion) that the government has committed the aviation sector since the pandemic began.
The framework includes six strategic priorities:
- 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;
- modernizing airports regulation to ensure Australia has the aviation infrastructure it needs for the future;
- revitalizing General Aviation to help it realize 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.
A Strategic Aviation Advisory Forum will be formed to implement the framework, and 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 competitiveness in the aviation industry.
“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,” Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Barnaby Joyce said in a statement.
Joyce continued: “We are putting in place policies and regulations to foster a competitive, safe and secure aviation sector that all Australians can rely on, and not just for travel and leisure purposes.”
In response to the government support, Airlines for Australia and New Zealand CEO, Dr Alison Roberts said: “The experience and uncertainty of the past two years have reinforced the need for support to be flexible and responsive to changing conditions.”
Roberts added: “As the Deputy Prime Minister noted, support is more than the necessary financial measures that have helped the aviation sector through the worst of the pandemic. It is about ensuring that the right policy settings are in place across the whole aviation ecosystem, to enable us to face the significant challenges that we still have ahead of us.”