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The National Airports Safeguarding Framework (NASF), and its associated guidelines, aim to:

  • improve community amenity by minimising aircraft noise-sensitive developments near airports.
  • improve safety by ensuring aviation safety requirements are recognised in land use planning and development decisions.

Further information about the NASF and its principles and guidelines are available from the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC).

The NASF was agreed to by Commonwealth, state and territory transport ministers at the meeting of the then Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure in May 2012. Each jurisdiction is responsible for implementing NASF into their respective planning systems.

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The Victorian Government is committed to implementing the principles of NASF. Amendment VC128 introduced consideration of NASF into the Planning Policy Framework by referencing the framework under Clause 18.04 (now under Clause 18.02-7S Airports and airfields).

NASF informs land use and development approval processes to protect the safe and efficient operation of all airports in Victoria and aviation infrastructure. Amendment VC128 builds on Victoria's long-established framework of planning protections for the state's airports and airfields.

Since its release, NASF has also been reflected in key state strategic land use and transport documents that are referenced in planning schemes, including Plan Melbourne and Regional Growth Plans.

NASF process flowchart

Airport Safeguarding: general process for assessment of proposals which may impact airport operations (indicative only)

Application refers to planning permit, planning scheme amendment, other consent or approval.

Decision maker refers to the responsible authority if proposal is for a planning permit and Planning Authority if proposal is for a planning scheme amendment. See the National Airports Safeguarding Framework Guideline F for further details about the proposal assessment process.

1. Early Consultation and Commonwealth Approval

1.1. Proponent to obtain required safeguarding approvals before submitting formal application to State/local decision maker

1.1.1. Proponent notifies and consults airport operator as early as possible in the development process to ascertain if any safeguarding issues (such as intrusion into airspace)

1.1.2. Proponent obtains necessary approvals from airport operator / Commonwealth / Industry regulator (Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, Department of Defence, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Airservices Australia, can include stakeholder consultation for example, with airlines)

2. Formal Planning Assessment Outcome

2.1. National Airports Safeguarding Framework guidelines and principles are Implemented through the planning system

2.1.1. Proponent then submits a formal application to the responsible decision maker (for example State Government or local council) who notifies the airport operator of the proposal

2.1.2 Proposals are assessed against Planning Policy Framework (including Clause 18.04 Airports), Local Planning Policy Frameworks, and planning controls (such as Design and Development Overlay, Airport Environs Overlay, Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay)

2.1.3. Airport operator provides assessment of application to responsible decision maker confirming safeguarding requirements met

3. Outcome

3.1 Responsible decision maker will determine the proposal (such as approve, refuse, or request further information)

Issues covered

Early consultation

The proponent of a proposed land use change or development (for example rezoning, residential subdivision, telecommunications tower, multi-storey building) or any activity (for example crane operation, emission of particulates or gases) that may impact the operation of an airport and its aircraft should notify the airport operator in the first instance of the proposal.

Notification should occur at the earliest opportunity in the development process, well before permit applications or proposals are submitted to the responsible authority for consideration.

Aircraft noise (NASF Guideline A)

Managing the use and development of land in airport environs is necessary to protect flight paths from inappropriate noise-sensitive development and the subsequent exposure of further people to aircraft noise. The NASF addresses aircraft noise through Guideline A: Measures for Managing Impacts of Aircraft Noise.

See aircraft noise for more information

Wildlife strikes (NASF Guideline C)

NASF includes guidelines for managing the risks of wildlife strikes in the vicinity of airports.

Wildlife strikes and / or avoidance can cause major damage to aircraft and a reduction in the safety of aircraft operations. Land use planning decisions, (for example for a refuse disposal facility such as landfill), and land use management practices can have significant implications for the operation of airports by attracting wildlife, particularly birds.

Further information is available via the following links:

Protected airspace (NASF Guideline F)

Structures such as buildings, cranes, and plume stacks and emissions, and even trees have the potential to create air safety hazards and compromise airport efficiency and capacity. Protection of operational airspace is important to ensure aircraft safety and airport efficiency. The NASF addresses protected airspace through Guideline F: Managing the Risk of Intrusions into the Protected Operational Airspace of Airports.

Other safeguarding issues

The following NASF guidelines cover other, equally important, safety considerations for planning and development within airport environs:

  • NASF Guideline B - Managing the Risk of Building Generated Windshear and Turbulence at Airports
  • NASF Guideline D - Managing the Risk of Wind Turbine Farms as Physical Obstacles to Air Navigation
  • NASF Guideline E - Managing the Risk of Distractions to Pilots from Lighting in the Vicinity of Airports
  • NASF Guideline G - Protecting Aviation Facilities — Communications, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS)
  • NASF Guideline H - Protecting Strategically Important Helicopter Landing Sites
  • NASF Guideline I – Managing the Risk in Public Safety Areas at the Ends of Runways

The Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development,  Communications and the Arts has published further information on airport safeguarding:

Further information on policy and planning permit requirements for wind energy facilities in Victoria.

Page last updated: 14/11/23


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