Regional aviation must be at the front of innovation and technology advances in order to soar to new heights.
The Liberal and Nationals Government stands ready and committed to work with the aviation industry to offer dynamic, new ways for Australians to travel across our great big country.
Looking to the next decade and beyond, Government and industry must face the challenges and seize the opportunities by adapting to new technologies.
That's why we are supporting major infrastructure investments at airports right across the country, including expanded terminals and upgraded runways at Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Avalon and Hobart.
After 50 years of debate, it's the Liberal and Nationals in government who are finally building the Western Sydney (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport with a $5.3 billion investment. But we're not just looking at our cities, we are squarely focused on delivering for the regions too.
For many communities in regional, rural and remote Australia, air services are essential for providing mail, supplies, transport and medical services.
Improving safety and access to these airstrips is a core priority for the Government because all Australians have a right to these services.
The Liberal and Nationals Government's $100 million commitment to safety, maintenance and upgrade work at our regional airports will also create more tourism opportunities in the regions.
These are all things governments should do - and I believe we are doing more in aviation than any government before us but we want to do more. We can do more and we need industry leaders to partner with.
Today, the government has released an Issues Paper, the first step in preparing our Regional Aviation Policy Statement.
The Paper will help all stakeholders assess the challenges and opportunities for regional aviation operators and the communities in which they operate.
The roles of the different tiers of government and industry in regional aviation will be canvassed, including the provision of aviation services and airport infrastructure, as well as opportunities for better coordination in aviation programs operating in regional Australia.
We are keen to hear from the regional general aviation sector who are vital connectors for our smaller regional towns. Whether it is aerial mustering, spraying or charter operations, we want to hear what this government could do to ensure this vital sector can continue to contribute to our regional communities.
The Regional Aviation Policy Issues Paper will be the first in a series of steps to identify and address key issues impacting the aviation industry.
We are looking to collaborate with industry to ensure Australian aviation continues its rich tradition of connecting our regional and remote communities, with even better transport connectivity.
This policy work will form part of a number of initiatives we will be working on over the coming year, to help prepare Australia for the aviation opportunities that are already with us or not that far away.
Think ridesharing apps in the sky, autonomous aircraft, biofuel, electric aircraft and so much more.
The days of the Jetsons are here.
As we look to the next 10 years, the 10 after that and the 10 after that, we want Australians to be at the front of the queue when it comes to benefiting from innovation and new technology.
The government is doing a lot and the industry has come a long way but we need to be even more ambitious and fly even higher.
So next time you board a plane, whether it's to a major city, a regional hub or even a small charter aircraft, pause for a moment to consider how you think the experience could be better - because your government is listening.
The sky is (NOT) the limit!
- Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack