Specific spatial data for airports in Victoria can be found in their current approved master plans.
Number above (N) contours
Number above contours, also known as N contours, are decibel measurements that indicate daily potential noise exposure for an area. That is, the number of aircraft noise events exceeding 60dB(A), 65dB(A) or 70dB(A) per day.
Victoria’s planning system implements N contours as an alternative noise metric for consideration in strategic planning decisions (refer to Clause 18.02-7S). This is where there is potential for future communities to be unnecessarily exposed to aircraft noise.
Where N contours exist, zoning or overlay changes that allow noise-sensitive uses outside the Urban Growth Boundary should be avoided, while measures to reduce the impact of aircraft noise in planning for areas within the Urban Growth Boundary is encouraged. N contours should be examined when considering strategic planning proposals near airports.
Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF)
The ANEF system is the approved aircraft noise exposure metric for use in land use planning across Australia. ANEF contours align with the flight paths in use when an airport is operating at its future capacity. There are three ANEF categories for airport master plans, standard, long range, and ultimate practical capacity. For the purpose of land use planning, the preference is to use the long range or ultimate practical capacity. Victoria’s planning system supports use of the ultimate practical capacity ANEF for Commonwealth-leased airports.
The ANEF system is a measure of aircraft noise exposure levels around airports and aerodromes. ANEF contours are displayed in 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 ANEF units. The larger contour number represents areas that may be subject to higher aircraft noise. ANEF contours are based on the average daily noise levels over a one-year period and are also measured in decibels.
Airservices Australia endorses each airport's ANEF for technical accuracy. ANEFs are included within approved airport master plans. The ANEF is the agreed metric applied in Australia.
If N contour and/or ANEF data for specific airports exists, it can be found in their current approved master plan.
There are two sets of ‘invisible’ above-ground surfaces around an airport to safeguard its operation. The airspace above each of these surfaces forms an airport’s protected airspace, protecting aircraft from obstacles and activities that are a threat to aircraft safety. Any intrusion into the protected airspace affects airport operations.
The two surfaces are:
Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS)
The OLS is generally the lower of the two surfaces. It is designed to provide protection for aircraft when pilots are flying by sight, known as Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Operations (PANS-OPS)
The PANS-OPS is generally higher than the OLS. It provides protection for aircraft flying by instruments – for example in conditions with poor visibility, known as Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
If OLS and/or PANS-OPS data for specific airports exists, it can be found in their current approved master plan.
Airports in Victoria
The following section includes current approved master plan and spatial information for Commonwealth owned airports in Victoria. All current versions of master plans remain in force until a new or updated master plan is approved by the Commonwealth and published by the airport operator.
The planning and development of Melbourne, Essendon Fields and Moorabbin airports is regulated under the Commonwealth Airports Act 1996. Avalon Airport is owned by the Department of Defence, whose lease with the airport operator addresses the planning and development requirements of the airport. RAAF Base East Sale and RAAF Base Point Cook are Defence owned and operated airfields.
The information, links and airport data provided on this page are owned and managed by the airport operators. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will work with airport operators to provide further airport spatial data on this page when available.
Avalon Airport is a domestic and international airport with no curfew, 24-hour access, freight capability and an adjoining employment precinct.
The current approved Avalon Airport Master Plan was approved by the Department of Defence in September 2015. The master plan outlines the airport’s current and future expansion of aviation and non-aviation related developments.
Essendon Fields Airport is a general aviation airport that is an important regional and state aviation asset with specialised functions, including executive charter, emergency aviation services, freight, logistics and an adjoining employment precinct.
The current approved master plan was approved by the Commonwealth on 23 April 2014. The Essendon Fields Airport Master Plan is currently under review. The Commonwealth has granted an extension until 31 January 2024 for the airport operator to submit an updated master plan. If the updated master plan is approved, it will replace the 2013 Master Plan.
Melbourne Airport is a major domestic and international airport with no curfew, 24-hour access, freight capability and an adjoining employment precinct.
Melbourne Airport recently consulted on an updated master plan. On 14 November 2022, in accordance with section 81 of the Commonwealth Airports Act 1996, the preliminary draft Melbourne Airport Master Plan 2022 was approved by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King MP.
RAAF Base East Sale plays a major role in flight training for the Air Force. The base is located 6km from Sale’s town centre and was recently upgraded with a new air traffic control tower and various other upgrades to buildings and services around the base. RAAF Base East Sale is an operational RAAF Base.
Information on the Defence Aviation Areas and how to apply for approval if your property or structure is higher than the required height: Defence Aviation Areas
The airfield at Point Cook is unique in that it is part of an operational RAAF Base, but predominately used by organisations for pilot training. RMIT University Flying Training school is the largest organisation to use the airfield. RMIT commenced flying activities at Point Cook in 1995.
In addition to RMIT, Victoria Police and Victoria Emergency Service occasionally conduct helicopter operations at the Base. Flight schools from Essendon and Moorabbin airports also use Point Cook.
As work progresses to further develop this page, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will work with Victorian airport operators to provide access to their updated spatial data and master plans.