Annual Report 2006-07: Statutory reporting
- Significant events
- Other major events
- Significant judicial decisions and administrative review decisions
- Freedom of Information Act
- Ecologically sustainable development
- Occupational health and safety
- Commonwealth Disability Strategy
- Insurance and indemnities
- Competitive tendering and contracting
- Advertising and market research
Under section 15 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, CASA must notify the Minister of significant events.
A significant event is defined as any proposal to:
- form a company or participate in the formation of a company
- participate in a significant partnership, trust, unincorporated joint venture or similar arrangement
- acquire or dispose of a significant shareholding in a company
- acquire or dispose of a significant business
- commence or cease a significant business activity
- make a significant change in the nature or extent of an interest in a significant partnership, trust, unincorporated joint venture or similar arrangement.
There were no significant events within the meaning of section 15 during 2006–07.
Other major events
Under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Orders 2005, CASA must report on any significant changes in accordance with:
- subclause 10(1)(e)—significant changes in the authority's state of affairs or principal activities that have occurred during the financial year
- subclause 10(1)(f)—developments since the end of the financial year, giving particulars of any matter or circumstance that has arisen and has significantly affected or may significantly affect:
- the results of those operations in future years or
- the authority's state of affairs in future financial years.
There were no reportable major events during 2006–07.
Significant judicial decisions and administrative review decisions
During the reporting period there was only one decision that fell into this category. This decision is summarised below.
On 28 April 2006, an approved testing officer applied to the Federal Court for review of a decision made by CASA's Director of Aviation Safety and CEO to revoke the delegation to this officer of a number of CASA's powers and functions. The Director had delegated those powers and functions under an instrument dated 25 June 2004, which was to cease having effect at the end of June 2006.
The ground of review the applicant relied upon was that the making of the revocation decision was an improper exercise of the power conferred by the Civil Aviation Regulations on the Director. Specifically, he argued that the Director failed to take into account four considerations alleged to be relevant to the exercise of the power. In essence, those considerations concerned the fact that, on 27 March 2006, a review application had been made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in respect of separate decisions taken by another primary decision maker, on behalf of CASA, cancelling various ratings, certificates and approvals held by the applicant (and an associated company). Under a series of decisions from 27 March 2006 to 31 March 2006 (and further decisions up to 4 July 2006), the tribunal had stayed or ‘otherwise affected' the operation of those CASA decisions.
In his statement of reasons, the Director said that he took into consideration various documents, including a minute that set out the background to the original decision to delegate certain powers and functions to the applicant and, under the heading ‘Effect of AAT stay order', expressly noted that the effect of the tribunal's order on 31 March 2006 was to stay the implementation of CASA's 24 March 2006 decisions for 90 days.
On 21 September 2006, the Federal Court dismissed the application, thereby affirming CASA's original decision. The Court reasoned as follows:
- The revocation of a delegation is not subject to review by the tribunal and the tribunal's powers to grant stays cannot be applied to it. It is difficult, therefore, to infer that the Director ought to have regard to the decision and findings made by the tribunal on a stay.
- A delegation is of particular functions of CASA. It is considerations of safety and as to how the functions of the subject of the delegation have been carried out that are to guide the Director's discretion. The effect of revocation of a delegation upon a person's business is not relevant to those questions.
- The Director was not bound to take the tribunal's stay decision into account. ‘To the contrary', said the Court, ‘the Director was obliged to answer the questions arising in connexion with the delegation for himself.'
Freedom of Information Act
Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) requires each Australian Government agency to publish detailed information about the following:
- the way the agency is organised
- the functions and powers of the agency
- types of decisions made by the agency
- the document categories held by the agency and how members of the public may obtain access to documents
- arrangements for public involvement in the work of the agency.
Section 8 statement
This statement is published to meet the requirements of section 8 of the FOI Act. Further information on the organisation, powers and functions of CASA can be found in Part 1 of this report.
Establishment of CASA
CASA was established on 6 July 1995 by an amendment to the Civil Aviation Act 1988.
The organisation chart in Part 1 shows the structure of the organisation.
Functions and powers
Section 9 of the Civil Aviation Act provides that CASA has the function of conducting the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australian territory, and the operation of Australian aircraft outside Australian territory, in accordance with the Act and regulations made under the Act. CASA also has other safety-related functions, including encouraging a greater acceptance by the aviation industry of its obligation to maintain high standards of aviation safety.
Freedom of information procedures and contact point
Under section 15 of the FOI Act, any person is entitled to apply for access to documents that fall within the scope of the Act. A request under the FOI Act should be in writing, be accompanied by a $30 application fee, and state an address in Australia to which notices under the Act can be sent. In certain circumstances, the fee is not required or may be remitted by CASA.
For a quick response, the applicant should give as much information as possible about the documents sought. It is advisable also to include a telephone number in case clarification is necessary.
Facilities for inspection of documents, and preparation of copies if required, are provided or arranged by CASA's Freedom of Information Coordinator. The coordinator can help applicants identify particular documents being sought.
Requests under the FOI Act for access to documents in CASA's possession, or enquiries about access, should be directed to:
Freedom of Information Coordinator
Legal Services Group
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
GPO Box 2005
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 131 757 (local call)
Facsimile: (02) 6217 1607
Categories of documents
The categories of documents (including internal administration papers and records, working drafts, statistical records, copies of emails, telexes, cables and facsimiles) that CASA holds include:
- human and financial resource management records
- ministerial, interagency and general correspondence and papers
- policy documents, including recommendations and decisions, media releases and position papers
- papers relating to new and amended legislation, drafting instructions and draft legislation
- briefing papers and submissions prepared for the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and previous Chief Operating Officer, members of the senior management group and the previous CASA board
- papers and records relating to certification, registration, manufacture, maintenance and operation of aircraft
- papers and records relating to licensing of flight crew and maintenance personnel, and certification of air service operators, maintenance organisations and other organisations involved in aviation activities
- papers and records relating to licensing, maintenance and operation of aerodromes
- papers and records relating to development of aviation safety standards
- papers and records relating to aviation safety education
- documents relating to aviation industry surveillance.
In accordance with Section 9 of the FOI Act, CASA maintains a list of manuals and other documents that CASA officers use as a guide to procedures and practices to be followed when making decisions or recommendations that affect the public. Table 45 in Appendix 6 lists those materials.
Documents available in hard copy can be purchased from the CASA online store.
For further information about CASA documents, contact:
Document Control Officer
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
GPO Box 2005
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 131 757 (local call)
Arrangements for outside participation
Subsection 9(2) of the Civil Aviation Act states that one of CASA's functions is to promote full and effective consultation and communication with all interested parties on aviation safety issues.
Section 16 of the Act states that, in the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers, CASA must consult where appropriate with government, commercial, industrial, consumer and other relevant bodies and organisations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization and bodies representing the aviation industry.
The Aviation Safety Forum is a special consultative body helping the aviation community and CASA work effectively together to improve aviation safety in Australia. The forum advises CASA on important strategic issues (see Aviational Safety Forum).
The CASA Standards Consultative Committee is a joint CASA–industry forum set up to involve the aviation industry formally during the development phase of new regulations. The committee and its subcommittees bring together CASA staff and representatives from a diverse range of more than 200 aviation industry organisations, examine proposed regulatory changes to determine if they are worth pursuing, and help in allocating priorities to those projects (see Standards Consultative Committee).
CASA complies with government requirements for the preparation of regulation impact statements. As part of this process, CASA issues notices of proposed rule making in relation to any significant changes to civil aviation regulations and orders made under the Civil Aviation Act.
Freedom of information requests
CASA received 46 requests for documents under the FOI Act in 2006–07. Tables 10, 11 and 12 give statistics on freedom of information requests received in 2006–07 and the previous four years.
|Matters with CASA|
|Requests on hand from the previous year||5||5||10||10||3|
|New requests received||53||62||76||51||46|
|Access granted in full||24||37||34||40||27|
|Access granted in part||8||5||23||8||7|
|Status of other matters|
|Requests withdrawn by applicant||6||2||8||5||4|
|Requests transferred in whole|
|to another agency||1||1||0||0||0|
|Requests remaining on hand at 30 June||5||10||10||3||4|
a Includes matters where the reason for refusal was that the requested document or documents did not exist.
|More than 90 days||0||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matters on hand||0||0||0||2||1|
|New applications received||5||2||7||2||0|
|Greater access given||3||2||3||1||0|
|Status of other matters|
|Applications remaining on hand at 30 June||0||0||2||0||0|
Ecologically sustainable development
Under subsection 516A(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, CASA must report on its actions and operations during the financial year in accordance with subsection 516A(6) of that Act.
Under subsection 9A(1) of the Civil Aviation Act 1988, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration when exercising its powers and performing its functions. However, subject to this overriding safety obligation, CASA is also required by subsection 9A(2) to exercise its powers and perform its functions in a manner that ensures, as far as is practicable, that the environment is protected from:
- effects of the operation and use of aircraft
- effects associated with the operation and use of aircraft.
CASA has regard to section 9A in regulatory standards development and compliance activities, in accordance with the principles of section 3A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
CASA has developed an environmental management system (EMS) as defined under AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004. CASA's EMS is a tool designed to improve the organisation's environmental performance and reduce the environmental impact of our operations.
CASA's Environmental Policy is a key element of the EMS. The policy formalises CASA's commitment to environmental protection, and provides a framework for achieving continuous improvement in environmental performance. CASA reviews the EMS regularly to assess its effectiveness in achieving the organisation's environmental objectives and targets, and to explore opportunities for continual improvement in environmental performance through improvements to the EMS.
CASA is committed to achieving best practice in office management and general operations. We are an active participant in the Australian Government's energy efficiency policy, which drives our initiatives to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, CASA employs waste-reduction initiatives such as waste paper, fluorescent lamp and general office waste recycling programmes, and programmes to recycle building waste when undertaking building fit outs and refurbishments.
During 2006–07, CASA occupied a new building in Woden, ACT, as its head office. The design of the office fit out incorporated many ecologically sustainable features, including a requirement that the building meet Australian Building Greenhouse Rating 4.5; the use of low-odour paints and reusable V-jointed plasterboard; the reuse of existing workstation screens and furniture; environmentally friendly fabrics on new loose furniture; movement-activated lighting controls in rooms and offices; photoelectric cell–activated switching on perimeter lighting; and water-saving heads on showers. The lease over the premises contains a Green Lease Schedule B1.
In 2006–07, CASA was not involved in any actions likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance or on Commonwealth land.
Figure 18 – CASA's environmental management system
Occupational health and safety
The following information about CASA's occupational health and safety management system is provided in accordance with the requirements of section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991 (the OHS Act).
With the agreement of the relevant unions, CASA chose to extend the term of office of the elected health and safety representatives from October 2006 to March 2007, to ensure that operational changes were effectively implemented and to conclude a major relocation for Corporate Services staff in Canberra.
Designated work groups
In March 2007, in consultation with relevant unions, CASA varied its designated work groups from 16 to 12. Twelve groups were established to ensure that all employees could be provided with health and safety representation.
CASA's CEO nominated 12 management representatives with responsibility for each group. All management representatives and team leaders received internal training.
Employees of each group duly elected a health and safety representative and deputy health and safety representative. Each representative was provided with accredited training within three months of the conclusion of the election.
Each group has established a local consultative committee as a forum for communication and consultation with employees on workplace health and safety matters. Designated work groups are empowered to resolve local health and safety issues with provision to raise issues with the National Occupational Health and Safety Committee.
CASA's designated work groups and locations are shown in Table 13.
Table 13 – CASA designated work groups and their addresses
|Corporate Services Canberra, Regulatory Services Canberra
16 Furzer Street, Phillip
Building 235, Qantas Drive, Mascot
Building 628, Airport Avenue, Bankstown
2 Fenton Court, Darwin International Airport
153 Campbell Street, Bowen Hills
527 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills
39 Navigator Place, Hendra
Cnr Rentell Street and Basil Brown Drive, Tamworth
Building 78, Mick Borzi Drive, Cairns
1 Coral Sea Drive, Townsville
4 Kel Barclay Avenue, Adelaide International Airport
505 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
19 Second Avenue, Mentone
130 Fauntleroy Avenue, Redcliffe
Note: The Bowen Hills, Northern Region and Eastern Region work groups each have two addresses.
National Occupational Health and Safety Committee
The National Occupational Health and Safety Committee is made up of union officials, workplace delegates and senior management representatives. The committee meets on a quarterly basis and is provided with secretariat support by Human Resources. The role of the committee is to provide strategic direction on occupational health and safety matters and monitor the implementation of programmes through data on incident reporting, lost-time indicators, project reports, prevention activities and injury management (compensation data) reports.
The chair of the committee regularly reports to the Deputy CEO, Strategy and Support through the Deputy CEO meetings with the group general managers. The committee also provides regular reports to the Workplace Relations Unit.
Accidents or dangerous occurrences during the year
In accordance with the provisions of section 68 of the OSH Act, CASA notified Comcare of five incidents during 2006–07 totalling 14 lost days, compared to one notifiable occurrence in 2005–06. No investigations arose from these incidents and three were attributable to personal health issues. The increase reflects an increased focus on incident reporting, which has been the aim of training and promotion at the designated work group level.
Measures taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees and contractors
CASA continued to demonstrate its commitment to workplace health and safety through its injury prevention programme, which focuses on communication and consultation with employees and the promotion of processes for hazard and incident reporting. The prevention of health and safety incidents was linked to early intervention under the injury management programme in an effort to reduce the incidence and consequence of injuries and achieve improved return-to-work outcomes. The following measures were taken during 2006–07:
- The CASA health and safety management arrangements were reviewed and improved.
- Site visits provided face-to-face instruction and guidance to regional managers and team leaders on changes to the occupational health and safety legislative environment and CASA's response through the revised health and safety management arrangements.
- Designated work groups and the method of grouping employees in line with operational functions were varied.
- Local consultative committees were established as forums for employee communication and consultation.
- Guidelines were introduced for the establishment, function and reporting of key communication and consultation activities to support CASA's health and safety management arrangements.
- Instructions for key operating procedures, such as incident notification and reporting, hazard identification and risk management, were revised.
- Incident notification and reporting processes were revised, including referral systems for hazard identification and resolution, early intervention requirements and CASA's health and safety management arrangements.
- Injury and illness management policies were revised to provide a greater focus on early intervention and occupational rehabilitation services for non-work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Injury and illness management guidelines were revised to support the new injury and illness management policy statement.
- CASA-specific training was introduced for newly elected health and safety representatives to establish links between legislated training and CASA's health and safety management arrangements.
- Regular orientation sessions were held for new employees on key health and safety procedures and mechanisms for employee communication and consultation.
- Fourteen per cent of CASA employees had their workstations assessed.
- Review of the OHS manual continued, to improve the consistency of application of the health and safety management system across the various designated work groups.
Workers' compensation premium
CASA's revised workers' compensation premium for 2006–07 was reduced to 1.13 per cent of total payroll, lower than the estimated rate of 1.26 per cent. This resulted in a bonus payment at the conclusion of 2006–07. CASA's rate is well below the overall Commonwealth average of 1.77 per cent for the period.
Record charity flight gets all-clear from CASA
A blind international pilot flying into Australia at short notice? This application was out of the ordinary, but CASA staff moved quickly to enable Miles Hilton-Barber to achieve a world first. On 30 April 2007, Mr Hilton-Barber became the first blind man to fly a microlight aircraft from London to Sydney—a 55-day, 20,900-kilometre adventure.
Mr Hilton-Barber, accompanied by a co-pilot, relies on speech-output technology to access his flight instruments and navigate the microlight,
a Mainair Quick GT450 with a 100 horsepower four-stroke engine.
The original request was received by Stuart Jones, flying operations team leader for CASA's Sydney office, who then worked with head office staff Mike Cleaver (sports aviation investigator) and Gary Carr (certification program coordinator) to ensure the approvals were completed in time.
CASA gave a special flight authorisation for the microlight, which included permission to fly within restricted airspace along the coast and across Sydney Harbour through to Bankstown Airport.
The remarkable flight was aimed at raising money for a charity that works
to restore the sight of blind children in developing countries.
‘I'll never see again in this life, but the next best thing is to give sight back
to these little children,' Mr Hilton-Barber said.
Investigations conducted during the year
No provisional improvement notices were issued and no investigations were undertaken under the requirements of section 29 of the OHS Act.
Occupational health and safety policy
The current Occupational Health and Safety Policy was due for review in October 2006. This review was deferred while CASA's new Health and Safety Management Arrangements were instituted, in accordance with the March 2007 amendments to the OHS Act. The policy is scheduled for review and release to staff in the first quarter of 2007–08.
Commonwealth Disability Strategy
CASA's operations encompass the typical activities of regulator (with elements of policy adviser), service provider, employer and purchaser, as those roles are defined in the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.
CASA's recruitment policy ensures that our recruitment advertising does not dissuade people with disabilities who have the necessary experience, skills and qualifications from submitting applications. The policy also ensures that selection processes take into account the special needs of applicants, so that those with disabilities are not disadvantaged.
CASA's formal standards and performance requirements for premises it leases require access for people with disabilities to be provided to buildings and to all areas of offices in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1428.
In addition, CASA provides car parking to staff with a permanent or temporary disability. In the case of temporary disability, parking is made available for the period recommended by a medical practitioner.
CASA's standard office desks and chairs are ergonomically designed to meet Australian Standard AS 4443 and Australasian Furniture Research and Development Institute standards. We provide special chairs for staff for whom standard chairs are unsuitable.
CASA also provides, as needed, suitable computer equipment and/or software to aid staff with disabilities. Contractual arrangements with CASA's information technology service provider require the support and maintenance of all occupational health and safety and disability assistance equipment associated with desktop computers. Support through the CASA help desk can be tailored for staff with special needs by noting an alert for help desk staff against the user's name. CASA will also provide appropriate voice facilities, such as TTY telephones, to any staff member who needs them.
In purchasing furniture, equipment and software to meet special needs, CASA consults with the staff concerned and seeks the advice of relevant organisations.
CASA adheres to the principles of value for money; encouraging competition among actual/potential suppliers; efficient, effective and ethical use of resources; and accountability and transparency when considering and undertaking procurement. These principles are set out in the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines – January 2005 (CPGs) and are applied to CASA's activities through a Chief Executive's policy notice and supporting agency operational guidelines.
CASA uses a devolved procurement model to ensure performance against core purchasing policies and principles. This model includes providing information about procurement policies and procedures to all staff, and maintaining a single point of contact for staff to seek advice on CPG compliance and adherence to CASA's policies and tendering processes. CASA has conducted training sessions covering procurement policies and procedures and is in the process of revising its tendering and contracting documentation to ensure that it accords with best practice.
CASA promotes participation by small to medium-sized enterprises in its procurement practices. In July 2006, CASA published an Annual Procurement Plan on AusTender (as required under the CPGs) to facilitate early procurement planning and draw businesses' attention to CASA's planned procurement for the 2006–07 financial year.
Insurance and indemnities
The following information about CASA's Commonwealth and commercial indemnities and insurance is provided in accordance with clause 16 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2005.
When CASA was established, certain indemnities in relation to its responsibilities were provided by the Australian Government. Since then, commercial insurances have been arranged to cover these risks.
Nevertheless, the Commonwealth remains obliged to indemnify CASA in relation to liabilities associated with acts or omissions that occurred before the expiry of two deeds of indemnity in July and August 1998.
In 2006–07, CASA held aviation and general liability, professional indemnity, directors' and officers' liability, and a range of other corporate insurance.
Aviation and general liability
Aviation and general liability insurance provides coverage for injuries caused to third parties or to the property of third parties as a result of negligence arising out of the performance of CASA's functions under the Civil Aviation Act, the Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act 1959 and other applicable legislation, and for which indemnity by the Commonwealth does not apply.
CASA's professional indemnity coverage applies for claims arising from breaches of duty by CASA officers, generally involving the provision of skilled services or advice.
Directors' and officers' liability
During 2006–07, CASA held insurance protecting directors and officers from liability for the consequences of managerial misconduct or negligence, to the extent that the provision of the indemnity is not prevented by applicable legislation.
Competitive tendering and contracting
Competitive tendering and contracting (CTC) is the contracting out of the delivery of activities previously performed by an Australian Government agency. It can relate to either goods or services. During 2006–07, CASA operated with one existing CTC contract from earlier years; there were no CTC contract extensions; and no new CTC contracts were entered into.
Existing CTC contracts from earlier years
Following an open tender process, IPEX ITG (now Volante Group, a subsidiary of Commander Communications) was engaged on 26 June 2000 to provide information technology and telecommunications services. The original contract was for five years with the option of two, two-year extensions. During 2003–04 CASA exercised its option to extend the contract to 2009.
Crash test dummies:
A life-saving preoccupation—crashworthiness
Crashworthiness—in a nutshell, that's the ability of an aircraft to give its occupants every reasonable chance of escape from serious or fatal injuries in the event of a crash. While preventing a crash in the first place is obviously the focus, crashworthiness is understandably a major preoccupation of air safety regulators.
Mark Bathie is an expert on crashworthiness. Mark joined CASA in 2004 after working for one of Australia's premier aircraft manufacturers for more than 10 years. He has a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Sydney. Today he is Airworthiness Engineer—Crashworthiness in the Manufacturing, Certification and New Technologies Office.
Based at CASA head office in Canberra, Mark represents CASA on the Cabin Safety Research Technical Group, made up of delegates of airworthiness authorities from around the world. The group coordinates worldwide research into cabin safety and fire risks in the interests of future harmonised regulation. Mark is also the airworthiness and engineering expert on the Asia–Pacific Cabin Safety Working Group.
Mark's responsibilities include developing crashworthiness standards and advisory material, looking after aircraft and product certification, and paying continued attention to the airworthiness aspects of cabin and survival equipment. He also looks into the structural crash integrity of aircraft ranging from ultralights to airliners, including both fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft.
What was the highlight of Mark's year? It was conducting a research project aimed at improving the performance, under crash conditions, of automotive child restraints fitted to an airline seat. Like most of Mark's projects, that research might result in lives being saved one day.
Advertising and market research
In accordance with amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, all Australian Government departments and authorities are required to set out, in their annual reports, details of amounts paid by or on behalf of them during the year to advertising agencies, market research organisations, media advertising organisations and direct mail organisations.
During 2006–07, CASA paid the amounts detailed in Appendix 5.