Annual Report 2007-08 Part 4 External scrutiny
Information flow and media coverage
As an organisation committed to accurate and timely communication with the Australian public on all matters relevant to aviation safety, CASA endeavours to maintain open relationships with all sections of the media and with its stakeholders.
As part of this approach, CASA monitors the Australian media for coverage of stories mentioning CASA. During 2007 –08, there were 2,497 such stories. Of these, 62 per cent were on the radio, 28 per cent in the print media and 10 per cent on television.
CASA had an active voice—that of spokesperson—in 70 per cent of these stories. The tone of the coverage was recorded as neutral in 92 per cent of stories; 1 per cent actively praised CASA and 7 per cent were negative in tone, actively criticising CASA.
In February 2008, CASA again engaged Roy Morgan Research to conduct a public survey, to investigate perceptions of a range of aviation safety issues. The survey found that most respondents rate CASA’s performance positively, with only four per cent indicating that they thought CASA was doing a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ job. CASA’s approval rating has increased significantly since the first of these surveys in 2000, with over 55 per cent of respondents thinking CASA is doing a ‘good’ or ‘great’ job.
This year’s survey also found that most respondents see flights between capital cities in Australia as being safer than comparable flights in countries like Canada and the United States. About 20 per cent of survey respondents rated the level of safety as having changed in the last 12 months, most of whom felt that it had improved.
Review of CASA’s regulatory decisions
Certain types of regulatory decisions by CASA are subject to review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. ‘Merits’ review involves the reconsideration of an administrative decision. On the facts before it, the tribunal decides whether the correct decision (or, in a discretionary area, the preferable decision) has been made in accordance with the applicable law.
A person who is the subject of a CASA decision may apply direct to the Federal Court for a review of the decision under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977. In some cases, a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal may be reviewed in the Federal Court.
Table 4.4 shows the status of merits reviews of CASA regulatory decisions by the tribunal for 2007 –08 and for the previous four years. Table 4.5 details the categories of decisions appealed to the tribunal during 2007 –08, while Table 4.6 summarises the status of applications to the Federal Court for the period 2003 –04 to 2007 –08.
|Applications on hand from the previous year||16||15||18||14||10|
|Applications lodged during the year||19||18||21||12||24|
|A –Matters dealt with*|
|Decisions set aside||2||1||6||1||3|
|B –Status of other matters|
|Applications withdrawn by the applicant||8||10||8||5||8|
|Applications remaining on hand at 30 June||16||18||14||10||19|
* Does not include interlocutory decisions (that is, decisions made during the progress of an action).
Note: The types of decisions that can be appealed to the tribunal are listed on its website at
Table 4.5 Categories of CASA decisions appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, 2007–08 (select on the image to view a larger version)
|2003 –04||2004 –05||2005 –06||2006 –07||2007 –08|
|Filed by subject person||Filed by CASA||Filed by subject person||Filed by CASA||Filed by subject person||Filed by CASA||Filed by subject person||Filed by CASA||Filed by subject person||Filed by CASA|
|Matters with the Court|
|Applications on hand from the previous year||0||0||1||1||2||1||2||0||0||0|
|Applications filed during the year||1||2||4||1||3||0||1||0||2||0|
|Matters dealt with|
|Decisions set aside/overturned||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Status of other matters|
|Applications on hand||1||2||2||1||2||0||0||0||2||0|
|Decisions arising from Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision||1||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
Federal Court prohibition orders
In accordance with the Civil Aviation Act 1988, CASA may suspend a civil aviation authorisation for five business days where there is a serious and imminent safety risk. Such suspensions then cease unless CASA applies to the Federal Court for a prohibition order before the expiry of the five-day period.
CASA made one application to the Federal Court for a prohibition order during 2007 –08 (see ‘Significant Judicial Decisions’ in Statutory Reporting). This was in relation to a pilot holding both a private and a commercial licence.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal review of freedom of information decisions
Two applications were made in 2007 –08 to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review decisions made by CASA under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Other reviews and review mechanisms
Regulatory Advisory Panels
As mentioned elsewhere in this report, CASA is progressively combining and updating the requirements currently set out in the Civil Aviation Regulations and Civil Aviation Orders into new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) under its regulatory reform program.
In 2004, the CASA CEO issued CEO Directive 017/2004, which was subsequently repealed in 2006 by CEO Directive 003/2006, requiring that a Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) be established in relation to each Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part under development.
The role of a RAP is principally to ensure that ‘due process’ has been followed when developing a CASR Part and that the aviation community’s views were fully considered. The RAP is to review whether the development of the particular CASR Part was consistent with the Guiding Principles for Regulatory Framework set out in CEO Directive 001/2007, and to ensure that the regulatory impact, costs and benefits have been adequately considered and are consistent with CASA policy and the Government’s regulatory best practice for reviewing and reforming legislation.
The RAP is not intended to conduct a general review of technical/policy content relating to the particular CASR Part, although the RAP may identify, consider and make recommendations on technical/policy issues newly arising or not addressed in the CASR Part.
The RAP convenes and reports to the CEO prior to submission of the CASR Parts to the Minister.
A RAP was convened in September 2007 to consider CASR Part 137 –‘Aerial Applications Operations –other than rotorcraft’.