The threshold for investment approval at federally-leased airports will remain at $25 million despite a proposal to raise that figure to $35 million, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport announced last week.
Developments with an investment below $25 million do not need ministerial approval and the proposed increase drew concerns from tenants at some airports.
"Taking all stakeholder feedback into consideration, the threshold will remain at $25 million in line with subsection 89(9) of the Act while the Department investigates opportunities to reform and streamline overarching MDP arrangements," a departmental spokesperson said.
"This may include moving towards a performance-based approach, where the assessment and approval process is more directly linked to the expected impacts of particular developments.
"The Department is currently reviewing the Airports Act 1996 and regulations, to cut red tape, streamline Commonwealth processes and modernise airport planning regulations.
"The Department looks forward to working closely with airports and the aviation sector in progressing these important reforms ..."
AOPA Australia CEO Ben Morgan hailed the announcement as a victory for aviation tenants operating on federally-leased general aviation airports.
"AOPA Australia would like to sincerely thank the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, and the Department of Infrastructure, on this important announcement, it is an important win for common-sense and for aviation,“ he said.
“The proposal to increase the monetary value from $25 to $35 million, would have served to lower essential oversight, opening up the system to further gaming by privatised airport leaseholder operators.
“It’s a fact that privatised airports are being run by insatiable property developers who are prioritising non-aviation expansion, at the expense and to the detriment of the aviation infrastructure and stakeholder access.
“Small, medium and large aviation businesses alike, including the airlines themselves, have been thrust into a situation where they are being priced out of airports, and forced to accept aviation property leases and access/user charges that are unsustainable."
The department also said they were reviewing the consultation process for master plans to bring them more into alignment with state and territory planning frameworks.
Federally-leased airports include the capital city GA airports of Archerfield, Bankstown, Camden, Essendon, Moorabbin, Parafield and Jandakot.