Federal Budget Allocates Over $400M to Aviation Sector

11 Jun, 2024 | News

The federal budget for 2024 brings significant investments to both Western Sydney Airport and regional aviation, promising substantial improvements and developments in the sector.

Western Sydney Airport Funding

The government has allocated $302.6 million over five years and an ongoing $53.5 million annually to Western Sydney Airport. This investment includes $237.4 million over four years starting from 2024–25, plus an ongoing $52.1 million per year for border security measures. These measures encompass terminal design, fit-out, commissioning, federal policing, and detector dogs. Additionally, $13 million over five years and $1.4 million annually will support regulatory oversight and Commonwealth preparatory activities.

In its budget papers, the government noted, “Equity will also be provided to WSA Co Limited to support the completion of Stage One of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport. Financial implications remain confidential due to commercial sensitivities.”

Infrastructure Enhancements

Supporting infrastructure for Western Sydney Airport will receive significant funding, including $100 million for rapid bus services and $20 million for planning the extension of rail links from the Bradfield aerotropolis to Macarthur.

Regional Aviation Investments

Regional airports and remote airstrips will benefit from $102 million in upgrades, and $7.5 million will be directed toward aviation safety measures. The Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program and the Regional Airports Program will be extended for three more years, with an additional $50 million and $40 million, respectively.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Catherine King, Regional Development Minister Kristy McBain, and assistant ministers Carol Brown and Anthony Chisholm stated, “We will provide $500,000 annually to the Remote Aerodrome Inspection Programme, ensuring safety inspections for remote airport operations. This supports First Nations community aerodromes and allows the Royal Flying Doctor Service and others to land safely in remote areas.”

Aviation Safety Measures

The government will save $8.4 million over five years (and $1.2 million per year ongoing) by terminating the Regional and Remote Airports Security grant program and returning uncommitted funds for business case development for Commonwealth facilities to the budget.

Further investments in aviation safety include $3.6 million over three years starting in 2024-25 to extend and expand the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) rebate program. This initiative supports general and recreational aviation operators in installing ADS-B devices, enhancing airspace management and safety. Additionally, $3.9 million in 2024-25 will support the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s ongoing safety investigative functions.

Ministers emphasised the importance of these programs, stating, “Through the Aviation White Paper process, we have recognised the critical role these programs play in regional and remote communities, which is why we are announcing these additional investments now. More reforms to aviation will be announced once the White Paper process concludes later this year.”

The federal budget underscores the government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s aviation sector, ensuring it remains safe, efficient, and capable of meeting future demands.

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