Annual Report 2007-08 Part 3 Governance
Under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act), the Minister may require CASA to act in accordance with directions or notifications about:
- the way its functions are performed and powers are exercised (section 12)
- strategic directions (section 12A)
- supplying documents and information to specified nominees (section 12B)
- reporting (section 12D).
Section 12C of the Act also gives the Minister the power to enter into an agreement with the Director of Aviation Safety (the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO) about the performance of CASA’s functions and the exercise of CASA’s powers. The Director of Aviation Safety must take all reasonable steps to comply with the terms of any such agreement.
To ensure regulatory independence, directions from the Minister about the performance of CASA’s regulatory function may be of a general nature only. This restriction also applies to notices under section 12A and any agreement under section 12C.
There were no statutory directions or notifications under sections 12A, 12B or 12D of the Act in 2007–08.
Under the Act, the Director of Aviation Safety and Chief Executive Officer is directly responsible to the Minister for CASA’s management. The Director of Aviation Safety is the sole director of CASA for the purposes of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act).
Under the CASA corporate governance arrangements, the role of the Director of Aviation Safety and CEO includes:
- deciding the objectives, strategies and policies to be followed by CASA
- ensuring that CASA works within the broad framework of the Government’s policies and priorities
- ensuring that CASA performs its functions in a proper, efficient and effective manner.
Industry Complaints Commissioner
The Office of the Industry Complaints Commissioner (ICC) was established in 2006 and is independent of CASA management and business, reporting directly to the CEO. The ICC contributes to the CEO’s commitment to a ‘Fair CASA’ and is integral to CASA’s risk management strategy.
The ICC is the central coordinating point for:
- all complaints made about CASA and about the conduct of any of CASA’s officers by a person who is not an employee of CASA
- all complaints or expressions of concern about matters related to or potentially affecting air safety, which have been referred to the ICC by or on behalf of a person who is not an employee of CASA.
The ICC provides industry stakeholders with an independent and accessible means of investigating complaints about CASA and of reviewing CASA actions. The ICC, however, does not replace formal or legal avenues of appeal. The ICC has the authority to investigate complaints and make recommendations to resolve the complaints or amend CASA processes or decisions based on the outcome of the ICC’s review or investigation.
The primary objective of the ICC is to resolve complaints by the most appropriate means possible, consistent with the requirements of the law.
The current Commissioner, Mr Michael Hart, has been in the position since June 2007, and has a full-time staff of one.
The Office provides a means for stakeholders to make complaints about CASA and provide information related to aviation safety. The Office receives on average about one new matter daily, involving either CASA or the aviation industry.
The CASA website provides current information about the ICC and allows easy access for online complaint submissions.
The Office is also responsible for the CASA Hotline, which provides a dedicated 1800 number to allow anybody, including members of the public, to report matters confidentially that are affecting, or may be affecting, air safety.
In addition to the work of reviewing, investigating and reporting on complaints, the ICC attends certain CASA senior management meetings and aviation industry briefings and meets regularly with industry members. In keeping with providing an accessible service, the ICC has travelled widely and personally met with many complainants throughout Australia.
Further information on the activity of the ICC during the year is reported in Strategic Relationships.
In accordance with the CAC Act, CASA continued to maintain the Audit and Risk Committee in 2007–08.
The committee’s functions are broad, and include:
- assisting CASA to comply with its statutory obligations under the Act and the CAC Act
- assisting CASA to comply with government policy, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice and conduct
- providing a forum for communication between CASA’s senior managers and its internal and external auditors
- overseeing CASA’s risk management and internal audit function.
The committee operates under a charter, which was reviewed during the year to ensure best audit and risk committee practice. It reports to the CEO and has direct access to internal and external auditors; the Chief Financial Officer; the Manager, Risk Management and Internal Audit; and all other senior managers.
At 30 June 2008, members of the Audit and Risk Committee were:
- Barbara Yeoh (Chair)
- Rod Alfredson (member)
- Dale Boucher (member)
- Mick Quinn (member).
In accordance with the Audit and Risk Committee charter, a majority of the members of the committee are independent of CASA.
See Appendix 1 for details of the qualifications and experience of the Audit and Risk Committee members.
The committee met on six occasions in 2007–08. During the year, the committee:
- assisted the CEO and CASA to comply with CASA’s legislative and other statutory obligations under the CAC Act and other relevant legislation
- provided a forum for communication between the CEO, CASA’s senior managers and the internal and external auditors
- endorsed CASA’s Strategic Risk Management and Internal Audit Plan and the annual internal audit work program
- provided guidance on the effective identification, management and monitoring of CASA’s financial and business risks, including fraud
- reviewed the financial statements and satisfied itself of the adequacy of the systems of internal controls
- advised the CEO on the adequacy of internal audit procedures, accounting procedures, systems, internal controls and financial reporting
- made recommendations for improving efficiency, effectiveness and ethics in all areas of CASA’s operations
- promoted accurate, high-quality and timely disclosures of financial and other information to the CEO and other key stakeholders
- reviewed internal audit reports and monitored management’s implementation of internal audit recommendations.