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CASA is Australia's aviation safety regulator and its main purpose is clear from its governing legislation–maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation, with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents.
CASA is a corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and was established on 6 July 1995 under the Civil Aviation Act 1988(the Act).
Section 9 of the Act sets out CASA's functions which include the core function of conducting the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australian territory and the operation of Australian aircraft outside Australian territory. Section 9A of the Act makes the emphasis CASA places on safety clear:
In exercising its powers and performing its functions CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration.
Under the Airspace Act 2007, CASA also has responsibilities for the efficient, equitable and above all, safe administration of Australian administered airspace. The performance of CASA's functions under the Airspace Regulations 2007is expressly made subject to section 9A of the Civil Aviation Act.
A comprehensive legislative framework exists to manage the safety of civil aviation, structured around the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944(the Chicago Convention). Australia was an original signatory of the Chicago Convention, the provisions of which were incorporated as law in 1947 in the Air Navigation Act 1920.
This plan outlines how CASA intends to meet the Minister's Statement of Expectations (SOE) which was provided to the CASA Board in March 2017 and covers the period until 30 June 2019.
In addition to the CASA Board's other responsibilities, including strategic direction, risk management and corporate planning, the Minister's expectation is that the CASA Board will:
- ensure that CASA makes progress on strategic priorities, in particular the categorisation of operations, emerging risks in aviation such as remotely piloted aircraft systems, and amendments to regulations and other statutory instruments
- facilitate effective interaction between CASA and the industry
In terms of its regulatory approach, the Minister's expectation is that CASA will:
- continue to focus on aviation safety as the highest priority
- consider the economic and cost impact on individuals, businesses and the community in the development and finalisation of new or amended regulatory changes
- take a pragmatic, practical and proportionate approach to regulation as it applies to different industry sectors having regard to risk
- implement its regulatory philosophy, with the philosophy being reflected in relevant policies, procedures, manuals, and when CASA personnel are carrying out their day-to-day operations.
The Minister expects that, in conducting its activities as the aviation safety regulator, CASA will have regard to the following key aviation initiatives:
- Changes taking place in relation to air traffic services, including Airservices Australia's new operating model and the transition to a new air traffic management system under the OneSKY project
- Workforce planning, including ensuring CASA's training and recruitment strategies provide the organisation with the skills and expertise to meet the current and emerging challenges in aviation safety regulation
- The appropriate sharing and use of safety information by CASA consistent with the Safety Information Policy Statement agreed with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and informed by 'just culture' principles
- Completing implementation of the remaining parts of the Government's response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, including actively progressing regulatory reform in consultation with industry and supported by appropriate safety cases
- Implementation of the recommendations of the review and functions of the Office of Airspace Regulation
- Working with Airservices and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) on enhancing the level of controlled airspace in Australian airspace including at major regional airports
- Strengthening international and Asia-Pacific regional aviation safety through:
- establishment of appropriate mutual recognition arrangements
- support of the Government's aviation safety initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region
- commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding between CASA, the Department and Airservices, regarding the management of Australia's International Civil Aviation Organization responsibilities
In performing its stakeholder engagement functions the Minister expects CASA will:
- Undertake effective and ongoing engagement with the aviation industry to create a collaborative relationship between CASA and industry based on a foundation of mutual understanding and respect
- Consider recommendations by the Industry Complaints Commissioner (ICC) about systemic issues arising from the ICC's investigations
- Communicate regularly with relevant Government agencies, industry and other key stakeholders regarding CASA's activities and functions
- Keep the Secretary of the Department and the Minister fully informed of CASA's actions in relation to the requirements stated in this SOE, and promptly advise about any events or issues that may impact on the operations of CASA, including through the provision of timely quarterly progress reports from the Board against the Corporate Plan
- Work closely with the Department and other Government agencies, including the ATSB, Airservices and the Department of Defence, to deliver integrated and comprehensive safety advice to the Government, the aviation industry and the community.
The SOE is a legislative instrument and is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.