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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996 repealed

On Tuesday 16 February 2021, the NSW Parliament voted to repeal the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996 (the Act).

 

The Act was originally introduced as a private members’ bill responding to community concern about the former Wyong Shire Council’s plans to expand Warnervale Airport which it owned and operated (the Airport is now owned and operated by the amalgamated Central Coast Council). The Act prevented council from expanding the airport without additional assessment and approval from the then Minister for Planning.

 

In 2017, the then Department of Planning and Environment completed a review of the Act that recommended the Act be retained. However, since this review, an extension to the runway by Central Coast Council triggered flight movement restrictions in the Act to 88 take-offs and landings a day. It has since been found that the flight movement restrictions have negatively impacted the financial and operational viability of the airport.

 

2020 Independent review

In response to continued community concern regarding the airport’s operations, an independent review was initiated in late 2019 by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, in partnership with Central Coast Council, to determine whether the Act remained valid and necessary.

 

The review was conducted by Abigail Goldberg and Peter Fiegehen from January to March 2020. Ms Goldberg is an expert in infrastructure, urban planning, governance and executive management. Mr Fiegehen is a pilot and aviation specialist.

 

For more information, read the Review’s Terms of Reference.

 

Findings and recommendations

Following extensive research and community consultation the review concluded that the Act is: irrelevant and no longer necessary, ambiguous and outdated, duplicates other primary planning, environmental and aviation legislation, is difficult to administer and can’t be updated or improved easily or without great cost.

 

The review report made three recommendations:

 

  1. The Act should be repealed as soon as possible, but if there was a delay, the airport flight restrictions should be removed immediately;
  2. Central Coast Council should develop and adopt a clear framework to govern the airport’s future management;
  3. Central Coast Council undertake works to reduce the height of trees to the north of the runway that are causing safety concerns.

 

The NSW Government accepted all of the recommendations of the review report and incorporated them into the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Repeal Bill 2020 that sets out a staged approach to repeal the Act.

 

Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Repeal Bill 2020

The NSW Parliament’s adoption of the Bill has set in motion the following actions to repeal the Act:

  • The immediate lifting of flight restrictions
  • Full repeal of the Act within three years after the date of the assent of the Act to enable Central Coast Council to prepare and implement business and operations plans and local planning controls to address the airport’s future operations and any changes proposed for the airport. The full repeal of the Act will come into effect earlier if the Minister is satisfied that council has implemented the above measures.

 

More information

For more information about the review you can: