Australia special: Action Agenda aims to arrest decline

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Australia's general aviation industry is the country's latest business sector to get the Action Agenda treatment.

The government launched the GA Action Agenda last September, recognising that the sector plays an important role across the vast country, particularly in regional and remote parts, and aware of the "ongoing challenges" the industry faces.

The Australian GA sector is widely acknowledged as being in decline. Investment in GA aircraft is down, with the result that its aircraft fleet is very old, and fewer people are flying or entering the industry. The Australian Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has attributed the problems to rising costs, lack of a government policy, over-regulation and lack of financial incentives to encourage investment in new aircraft.

The government says the action agenda is an excellent opportunity for collaboration and industry investment in the future of the sector. The industry-led agenda will allow the development of key solutions and long-term strategic initiatives to map out an industry future for GA, the government adds.

Australian transport minister Mark Vaile is finalising the Strategic Industry Leaders group, comprising representatives across the GA industry, which will drive the action agenda over the next 12 to 18 months.

"It will be up to the Strategic Industry Leaders Group to identify the issues it wishes to focus industry attention on," says the Department of Transport and Regional Services. "Based on previous industry consultation, research and overseas experience, we expect a number of supply issues to be addressed, including airport planning and development and availability of skills and regulatory reform, in addition to industry demand factors such as how the industry deals with competition from commercial aviation, other transport modes and competing recreational activities."

GA manufacturers will have an opportunity to provide input to the Action Agenda, although light aircraft design and manufacture was addressed through the Aerospace Action Agenda, says the department.