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Xenophon Opens Bid to Disallow Australia’s New Drone Laws

Independent senator Nick Xenophon aims to set in motion moves to disallow Australia’s new laws governing the use of drones when Federal Parliament resumes sittings this week.

Claiming the new rules (CDN, Sept. 30) are dangerous and pose a risk to aircraft around the nation, Senator Xenephon said he would move a disallowance motion.

“To ensure that we have some common sense and a safe approach to these drones, to at least go back to the drawing board, and at least we should look at what the United States has been doing, where drones need to be registered,” he said.

“The fact that the Government has seen fit to cut red tape is grossly irresponsible.”

Captain David Booth from the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) agreed that the new rules put air safety in Australia at risk, saying said there had been three incidents involving a rogue drone in the landing path at Sydney airport in the past four weeks. He said there had been more than 150 incidents reported by pilots and air traffic controllers in the past 12 months.

The new laws are aimed to cut the cost and red tape around operating drones that weigh less than 2kg, though they must fly within a visual line of sight, below 400ft.

Small commercial drone operators will not have to pay the current $1400 in regulatory fees and landholders can operate drones of up to 25kg on their properties without the need for approvals.

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