How CASA changes the rules

Our Regulation Implementation Branch has a central role in coordinating regulatory development. They work in collaboration with other areas in CASA and industry.

Changes to the aviation safety regulatory rules are required to:

  • maintain and improve aviation safety performance in Australia
  • ensure our regulatory actions achieve safety outcomes without impeding industry
  • maintain Australia’s high level of standing with ICAO and other national aviation authorities
  • improve our regulatory and licensing services to the aviation community
  • pursue whole of government initiatives relevant to aviation, such as the Australian Government’s best practice regulation agenda.

CASA adheres to Australian Government recommended practices and guides, including the Regulator Performance Guide recently published by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Initiation and planning

The trigger for a regulatory change may derive from various sources. CASA considers and assess proposals before a project team is established under the leadership of a senior manager.

The project team conducts research, including in relation to lessons learned from previous rule change activities, and carries the proposal forward through the whole process.

Consultation

For any change that is not minor or machinery in nature, we work cooperatively with the aviation community to maintain and enhance aviation safety. This is through a number of ways:

  • Aviation Safety Advisory Panel
  • technical working groups
  • aviation community meetings
  • distribution of information on our website
  • advertisements
  • consultation hub
  • other government departments
  • commercial organisations
  • industrial and consumer groups
  • bodies that represent the aviation industry
  • any other relevant bodies and organisations.

More information on our consultation process can be found on Consultation with industry and the public.

Legal drafting

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) is a separate Australian Government agency that is responsible for drafting CASA regulations. CASA gives instructions to OPC on what to draft, once the policy is settled (and including after any consultation as discussed above). OPC ensures the legislation meets the government's standards for drafting Australian legislation and is legally effective.

Legislative approval

The formal process to make a regulation, after it is drafted, includes:

  • CASA executive approval of the regulation and its associated explanatory materials (the ‘regulation package’)
  • approval of the regulation package by CASA’s portfolio department (the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications)
  • our Minister signs the regulation, indicating approval
  • the regulation package is considered by the Australian Government Executive Council, at which the Governor-General signs the regulation to make it law
  • the department registers the regulation on the Federal Register of Legislation where it is published, at which point the law can enter into force
  • we notify our staff and industry the regulations have been made
  • the department tables the regulations in parliament where they are subject to a disallowance period
  • if a Regulatory Impact Statement exists, it is also included in the package for scrutiny in parliament.

Implementation

Effective regulatory change depends on both CASA and the affected sectors of industry being ready for the new rules. CASA considers implementation requirements early in the regulatory change process to ensure that enough time is available to achieve CASA and industry readiness, but also that stakeholders are appropriately consulted about what is needed to achieve readiness.

A critical part of implementing regulatory change is an appropriate transitional arrangement, to facilitate a smooth move from the current to the new rules. While we will always make safety considerations in rule changes paramount, we also take into account ways to minimise burden both on industry and CASA. In some cases we may provide additional time to meet certain new requirements.

Depending on the transition arrangement and the nature of the rule change, implementation activities to support CASA and industry readiness could include:

  • guidance materials and ‘acceptable means of compliance’ documents
  • internal and external training products to ensure an understanding of the new rules
  • internal and external webinars, roadshows and other forms of interactive engagement
  • publicity and other communications channels to provide information about the change
  • updating CASA procedures, processes and tools
  • revising CASA authorisations and delegations
  • changes to the arrangements for CASA to charge regulatory fees
  • updates to CASA information technology systems.

As industry moves through the transition process, a point in time will come where it is appropriate for the new rules to be administered by CASA as a ‘business as usual’ activity, at which time the project activity will come to an end.

Project closeout and review

We review the entire process from the initial planning to the implementation of regulations. This allows us to make any improvements in the future.

Suggest a change to the rules

The Civil Aviation Act 1988 is generally restricted to the regulation of aviation safety. This means all proposed changes to legislative requirements must relate to aviation safety.

Suggested improvements to regulations, manuals of standards, advisory material, and regulatory procedures and practices can come from:

  • the aviation community
  • the public
  • our staff.

You can find more information about this process below.

Submitting suggested changes

You can use our online form to submit a suggestion to improve:

  • the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASRs)
  • the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CARs)
  • Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs)
  • Manuals of Standards (MOSs)
  • Advisory material (ACs/CAAPs/AMC/GMs)
  • Regulatory procedures.
Last updated:
7 Dec 2021
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