On Tuesday 16 February 2021, the NSW Parliament voted to repeal the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996 (the Act).
The Act was 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 and a night-time flying curfew.
It was found that the flight movement restrictions have negatively impacted the financial and operational viability of the airport.
2020 Independent review led to repeal
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.
Following extensive research and community consultation, the review concluded that the Act is irrelevant, no longer necessary and duplicates other legislation.
The NSW Government accepted the review’s 3 recommendations that:
- the Act be repealed as soon as possible, but if there was a delay, the airport flight restrictions should be removed immediately
- Central Coast Council develop and adopt a clear framework to govern the airport’s future management
- Central Coast Council undertake works to reduce the height of trees to the north of the runway that are causing safety concerns.
The recommendations were incorporated into the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Repeal Bill 2020 that set out a staged approach to repeal the Act.
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 3 years after the date of the assent of the Act (16 February 2021) 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.
For more information about the review you can:
- see the submissions for the Review of Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996
- read the Review of the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996 (PDF, 15.5 MB).