Central Coast Airport flight cap to be repealed

Warnervale AirportWarnervale Aerodrome on the Central Coast. Archive 2019

The NSW Government has today announced it will support all recommendations of an independent review into the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996 (the Act), including providing certainty to the community by immediately repealing the flight cap limit.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said there was an overwhelming response from the community, with more than 75 per cent of submissions received during the review supporting the repeal of the Act.

What is the Warnervale Airport (Restrictions) Act 1996?

  • The so-called WAR Act was enacted in 1996 by private members bill to prevent the expansion of Warnervale Airport by the Wyong Shire Council. 
  • It declares that no new developments can be made unless there is additional assessment and approval from the Minister of Planning. 
  • In 2019, an independent review was initiated by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces together with Central Coast Council. 
  • The review recommended a staged repeal of the act starting with the lifting of the daily take-off and landing cap, which currently restricts the number to 88.
  • On July 28, 2020, the NSW Government said they would support the repeal of the act.
  • Repealing the act now will now need to be formally accepted by the NSW State Parliament. 

“The review found a range of problems with the Act – including that it is overly complex, difficult to administer and was creating safety risks – and recommended it should be repealed as soon as possible,” Mr Stokes said.

“We will continue to work with Central Coast Council on a staged repeal of the Act, ensuring the appropriate planning controls and plans of management are in place to govern and manage the future operations of the Airport.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch said the NSW Government will introduce legislation in September to implement the recommendations, starting with the repeal of the daily take-off and landing cap.

“Our community has sent a strong message that it wants Warnervale Airport retained and accessible for public use by community groups like the Aero Club, and our Government will act to ensure this is the case,” Mr Crouch said.

“The Airport is used for training the next generation of Australian pilots, as well as enabling medical evacuations and bushfire emergency responses to occur. It’s vital that we support the continued operation of this important asset.”

The final report from the independent review 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, who owns and operates the Airport, should adopt a clear framework to govern the Airport’s future management, and
  3. Address safety issues affecting the runway.

The independent review was initiated in late 2019 to determine whether the Act remained valid, following community concerns about the Airport’s operations.

To view the final report, go to: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/WARActReview.

Source: Media release office of Adam Crouch, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, July 28, 2020

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