13 May 2021

The Australian Government has announced the introduction of an annual registration levy from 1 July 2021 for any drones or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flown for business or as part of your job. 

From 1 July 2021, an annual registration levy for commercially operated drones will be introduced with specifics being: 

  • For drones weighing not more than 500g,  annual registration is still required but there will be no associated charge
  • For drones weighing more than 500g, an annual registration levy of $40 per drone will come into effect.
  • The registration levy applies to drones registered on or after 1 July 2021.
  • For drones registered prior to 1 July 2021, there will continue to be no associated charge for the registration term.
  • Registration is valid for 12 months.

The detail of the drone registration scheme will be published on the CASA website and in CASA’s Cost Recovery Implementation Statement soon.  

For more information on the measures announced in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, see the Portfolio Budget Statements 2021-22.

CASA Website


AAUS Position

AAUS has previously engaged with its membership to develop the following position on the drone registration levy.

Main points of the submission is that AAUS:

  • Supports development of a RPAS registration and accreditation system that will ultimately increase safety for drone operations, noting that the mature registration cost arrangements have yet to be disclosed by CASA.
  • Supports the Department’s steps to establish a policy framework in relation to emerging aviation technologies including enabling greater opportunity for drone and AAM operations.
  • Acknowledges that CASA have been delivering RPAS services and associated support and development activities since the early 2000s that have not been fully funded by the RPAS industry.
  • Acknowledges that industry has made a significant investment and will continue to play an important role in the development of policy and regulation enabling RPAS operations.
  • Supports establishment of a fair and reasonable Unmanned Aircraft Levy to recover costs for regulatory services and development to enable RPAS operations.

Read full AAUS submission:

AAUS Submission – Senate Standing Committee RRAT – Unmanned Aircraft Levy Bill 20200929

We look forward to additional details being released on the cost recovery implementation statement that should provide more clarity on how this funding will be used.

Our expectations would be that all of the funding go towards addressing the critical shortage in CASA RPAS resources, a topic we have brought to the attention of the Minister, Department and CASA DAS on multiple occasions.  

To this end, AAUS is advocating for ongoing transparency in regard to the expenditure of the revenues raised through the new fee. Further, there needs to be accountability for performance, with AAUS requesting CASA to recommence publishing its service delivery performance and key performance indicators.

We welcome feedback from our membership on this matter.

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