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Annual Report 2005-06: Cross-agency activities

Cross-agency activities

Most of CASA’s interagency activities are within the Transport and Regional Services portfolio, but we also work with other government agencies.

In 2005–06, we were involved in a number of major interagency projects.

National Airspace System

Throughout the 2005–06 financial year, CASA continued its association with the airspace reform initiatives introduced in 2002 by the then Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP.

We continued to work with the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) and Airservices Australia on revised airspace arrangements under the National Airspace System. CASA is monitoring the implementation of Stage 2C operations, consistent with our role as the safety regulator. We are also working with DOTARS on training and educational materials to support these changes.

Air traffic management

The global aviation industry continues to undergo significant technological change, particularly in the area of new-generation aircraft types and aviation infrastructure.

Australia is one of the first countries to introduce Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast (ADS–B), a technology that provides a radar-like surveillance capability to air traffic services at significantly lower infrastructure costs. ADS–B enables the automatic broadcast of such things as aircraft identity, current position and altitude to air traffic services. In addition, suitably equipped aircraft can also receive the information and display it in the cockpit, increasing pilots’ situational awareness and potentially improving safety.

In 2005–06, CASA’s involvement in the development of ADS–B included work on:

  • the introduction of ADS–B based traffic separation standards
  • the review of Airservices Australia’s safety case for the implementation of ADS–B in upper airspace.

There have also been developments in other Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers manufactured to the latest technical standards are available for use as an alternative, sole-means navigation system. This is of particular benefit to general aviation, as it will require less ground-based navigation aid infrastructure and reduce costs.

The major airlines are also benefiting from the use of GNSS. CASA has been able to approve GPS non-precision approaches for B737–800 aircraft and is working on the introduction of ‘required navigation performance’ based approaches.

Following recommendations from the Air Navigation Commission conference in September 2003, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) decided that a new classification of approach (‘approach with vertical guidance’) should be the minimum standard approach throughout the world.

We are participating in a study coordinated by the Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group (ASTRA) to review the application of these approaches in Australia. ASTRA is Australia’s whole-of-industry air traffic management planning body, comprising airlines, airports, regional aviation, pilots, general aviation organisations and various government agencies.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau

During 2005–06, CASA was involved with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in the coordination of various activities and reports.

CASA received 214 reports relating to accidents or incidents. The bureau made 10 recommendations on matters relating to air safety, and we responded to all the recommendations.

We also responded to 60 requests for information, as required under section 32 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

A memorandum of understanding between the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and CASA signed in March 2005, after the introduction of CASA’s new enforcement tools, formalised what was already developing into a far more proactive relationship between the two bodies. Solid working arrangements between the CDPP’s case officers and CASA’s Part IIIA investigators have been strengthened by closer links between our Enforcement and Investigations Branch in Canberra and both the regional CDPP directors and case officers and the extremely helpful CDPP team in Canberra.

The CDPP now has a greater understanding of CASA’s safety mandate and the objectives of the legislation, which continues to enhance the quality of the CDPP’s prosecutions and inform CASA’s ongoing review of the effectiveness of the overall enforcement program.

The CDPP now comes to us to discuss sentencing options and their possible impact on safety, rather than just the punitive and deterrent effects of prosecutions. We are seeing demonstrated positive benefits in the results that the CDPP is getting in the courts.

Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing

The Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing (OLDP) is responsible for drafting all federal regulations.

CASA administers the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988, the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, the Civil Aviation (Fees) Regulations 1995, the Civil Aviation (Building Control) Regulations 1988 and the Civil Aviation (Carrier’s Liability) Regulations 1991.

For each project in which we seek an amendment to regulations, a CASA officer is nominated as the instructing officer to give drafting instructions to the OLDP. The Senior Legislative Counsel gives initial advice on the instructions, and has oversight of the final drafts of regulations before they are submitted to the CEO and the Minister. The Legislative Drafting Branch of the Legal Services Group assists in the development of drafting instructions and throughout the drafting process, as required.

The OLDP also manages the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments, established by the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. All legislative instruments must be registered. The Legislative Drafting Branch drafts all CASA’s legislative instruments other than regulations, and lodges the signed instruments with the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. These instruments include the CAOs, and exemptions and other instruments made under the Orders, the Regulations or the Act.