Under the Airports Act 1996 (the Act), all leased federal airports, excluding Mount Isa and Tennant Creek, are required to develop and submit Major Development Plans (MDP) for specific types of development, if they exceed the monetary threshold amount (the threshold) specified in section 89(9) of the Act. The threshold is currently set at $25 million.
To ensure the threshold corresponds with inflation and construction cost increases, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications intends to recommend to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP that he consider increasing the threshold to $35 million, by legislative instrument in line with subsection 89(10) of the Act.
The increased threshold, if agreed, would apply to new major airport developments after the date the legislative instrument takes effect. The threshold applies to the cost of construction for new buildings, and the construction or extension of taxiways, railways, roads or vehicular access facilities. The Airports (Major Airport Developments) Determination 2021 determines the costs of construction that are included and excluded in the threshold.
Where developments are expected to have a significant environmental, ecological or community impact, an MDP is still required as specified under the Act, irrespective of the development value amount. All airport developments must be consistent with approved Master Plans for each airport.
The Australian Government remains committed to supporting airports, which have been affected by the significant reduction in activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by reducing red-tape and providing greater investment certainty. The broader MDP process is being reviewed as part of ongoing airport regulatory reform work.
You can find more information on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ website in the coming days.