Annual Report 2007-08 Part 4 Statutory reporting
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 2007–08.
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 2007–08.
Significant judicial decisions and administrative review decisions
Civil Aviation Safety Authority v. Bell  FCA 1049, Federal Court of Australia
On 29 May 2008, pursuant to section 30DC of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (CAA), CASA suspended a holder’s commercial pilot (aeroplane) licence and a private pilot (aeroplane) licence (the licences). This was on the basis that a CASA officer formed the view that the holder engaged in, was engaging in or was likely to engage in conduct that contravened section 30DB of the CAA – namely, conduct that constitutes, contributes to or results in a serious and imminent risk to air safety. On 16 May 2008, the holder flew an aircraft with seven passengers. The holder landed at an incorrect location in a remote area in Western Australia. Without checking the take-off area, the holder immediately turned the aircraft around and took off in or near the location where he had landed, and, as a result, the aircraft hit a tree. The aircraft sustained substantial damage to its wing.
On 14 July 2008, the Federal Court made an order pursuant to section 30DE(2) of the CAA that the holder be prohibited from doing anything authorised by the licences he held until the period expiring on 14 July 2008. The court concluded in its judgment:
[The CASA officer] gave evidence concerning the likely effect of the damage that had been sustained to the aircraft on its handling, particularly at low levels. He stated that in his opinion the road or track used by the respondent to land and take off did not meet the relevant criteria and was otherwise unsuitable because of its narrowness, its close proximity to trees, the poor conditions of the road and the location of the fence running across the track. [The CASA officer’s] evidence is in itself sufficient to convince me that in what occurred there was a real risk to air safety. However, in assessing the conduct under consideration the Court is not making that assessment at large but is governed by relevant CASA regulations and other civil aviation standards. In the circumstances, it is not necessary for me to go into these, other than to say that I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe the respondent’s handling of the aeroplane on the day in question did not meet the standard in CASA’s regulations or other civil aviation standards.
The judgment is significant in that it is the first occasion under the scheme established by Division 3A of the Act in 2003 that the court has made a prohibition order. While the order was made by the Federal Court after the year ending 30 June 2008, it is included in this report because of the significant impact it had on CASA’s operations in the reporting period.
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 decision-making powers of 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 Act).
The organisation chart on pages 26–27 shows the structure of the organisation.
Functions and decision-making powers
Section 9 of the 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 Officers 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 the procedures and practices to be followed when making decisions or recommendations that affect the public. Appendix 6 lists those documents.
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 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 (ASF) 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. More information on the ASF can be found in Strategic Relationships).
The CASA Standards Consultative Committee (SCC) is a joint CASA-industry forum set up to involve the aviation industry formally during the development phase of new regulations, and amending existing regulations. The committee and its subcommittees bring together more than 200 CASA staff and representatives from industry and government organisations. More information on the SCC can be found in Strategic Relationships.
CASA also 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 Act.
Freedom of information requests during the year
There were 46 new requests for documents under the FOI Act in 2007–08. Tables 4.7, 4.8 and 4.9 provide information on the status of CASA’s FOI requests from 2003–04 to 2007–08.
|Matters with CASA|
|Requests on hand from the previous year||5||10||10||3||4|
|New requests received||62||76||51||46||46|
|Access granted in full||37||34||40||27||21|
|Access granted in part||5||23||8||7||11|
|Status of other matters|
|Requests withdrawn by applicant||2||8||5||4||4|
|Requested transferred in whole to another agency||1||0||0||0||2|
|Requests remaining on hand at 30 June||10||10||3||4||2|
* Includes matters where the reason for refusal was that the document or documents did not exist.
|More than 90 days||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Matters on hand||0||0||2||1||0|
|New applications received||2||7||2||0||5|
|Greater access given||2||3||1||0||1|
|Status of other matters|
|Applications remaining on hand at 30 June||0||2||0||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 Australian/New Zealand Standard 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 programs for recycling waste paper, fluorescent lamps and general office waste, and programs to recycle building waste when undertaking building fit-outs and refurbishments.
During 2007–08, CASA consolidated its three Brisbane offices into one new building at Brisbane Airport as its operational headquarters. The design of the office fit-out incorporated many ecologically sustainable features, including passive thermal and solar design principles, flexible air-conditioning systems and balanced natural and artificial lighting. All the concrete used on the project contained recycled content, and highly efficient water systems and extensive recycling facilities are also in place.
In 2007–08, CASA was not involved in any actions likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance or on Commonwealth land.
Commonwealth Disability Strategy
CASA’s operations encompass the typical activities of a regulator (with elements of policy advisor), 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 leased by the organisation 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, we provide car parking to staff with 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.
We also provide, as needed, suitable information technology (IT) equipment and/or software to aid staff with disabilities. Contractual arrangements with CASA’s IT service provider require the support and maintenance of all occupational health and safety and disability assistance equipment associated with desktop computers. Support through our help desk can be tailored for staff with special needs. 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.
Occupational health and safety
The following occupational health and safety (OHS) report is provided in accordance with the requirements of section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
Health and safety management arrangements
At the commencement of the reporting period, CASA released the interim health and safety management arrangements (HSMA) to meet the transition requirements arising out of the amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
The key components of the interim HSMA set out the new arrangements for the:
- corporate OHS policy
- variation and reinstatement of the National Occupational Health and Safety Committee under the new arrangements
- process to establish and vary the designated work groups in consultation with the affected employees
- communication and consultation mechanisms for employees on health and safety matters
- processes to resolve health and safety issues.
At the time of reporting, CASA had commenced the process to review the interim HSMA with a view to finalise and formalise the arrangements in consultation with employees by the end of 2008.
Designated work groups
CASA continued to maintain the 12 designated work groups (DWG) that were established in the previous reporting period. The elected health and safety representatives commenced the second year of their two-year term in 2008–09.
Each DWG has a management representative, nominated by the CEO, with responsibility for health and safety matters for the DWG, including the administration of a local consultative committee as a forum for communication and consultation with employees on workplace health and safety matters.
By-elections occurred for four DWGs to fill vacancies arising from resignations or transfer to new DWGs. All new Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Deputy HSRs were provided with accredited training within three months of their appointment.
In June 2008, CASA proposed to vary the DWGs to accommodate the changed work locations and realignment of work groups for employees in the Bowen Hills and Eastern region DWGs. At the time of reporting, consultation with employees affected by the variation was under way.
National Occupational Health and Safety Committee
CASA’s National OHS Committee compromises four employee representatives and four senior management representatives. The committee meets on a quarterly basis and is provided with secretariat support by Human Resources. Meetings occurred as scheduled on 11 October 2007, 12 December 2007, 5 March 2008 and 25 June 2008.
The role of the committee is to provide strategic direction on OHS matters and monitor the implementation of planned programs through data provided by the OHS function 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 its injury prevention program, CASA continued to demonstrate its commitment to workplace health and safety for its employees and contractors. A particular emphasis was on improved processes for communication and consultation through the designated work groups and local consultative forums on health and safety matters, as discussed above. In addition, the injury prevention program undertook the following measures during 2007–08:
- revision of the OHS policy
- implementation of the interim health and safety management arrangements, and commencement of the consultation process with employees to formalise these arrangements in line with the provisions of the transition arrangements for the new legislation
- reinstatement of the National OHS Committee under the new legislative framework
- review of the arrangements and functions of the designated work groups and employee roles in OHS consultative arrangements
- introduction of CASA-wide Personal Protective Equipment standards, including allocation of equipment based on the requirements of the specific work task, location and work environment
- a revised framework for first aid services, with more first aid officers and better systems for appointment, training, certification levels, reporting and precautions for infection control
- introduction of new equipment to improve first aid treatment and resuscitation capabilities for all first aid officers at all CASA sites
- introduction of a CASA-wide influenza vaccination program, with a take-up rate of 30 per cent
- workstation assessments undertaken for 9.7 per cent of employees
- introduction of a safe work practice to prevent the risk of workplace violence
- improved reporting systems to monitor the effectiveness of health and safety measures.
Health and safety outcomes
CASA’s lost-time occurrence incidence rate has decreased from the previous year, maintaining a downward trend. CASA’s rate of lost-time occurrences per 100 Full Time Equivalent in 2007 was 0.45, significantly below the average for Australian Government departments (1.34) (Mercer, August 2007).
Workers’ compensation premium
CASA’s revised workers’ compensation premium rate for 2007–08 was 1.19 per cent of total payroll, as a result of CASA’s improved claims record over the previous four years (2003–04 to 2006–07). CASA’s premium rate continues to be well below the Commonwealth average of 1.55 per cent. Improved performance is attributed to CASA’s early intervention program, initiated under its injury and illness management policy and guidelines. Additional improvements have been made to the systems in place to receive, lodge and process claims to ensure that the lifetime costs of claims reflect the true nature of active claims.
Accidents or dangerous occurrences during the year
During the 2007–08 reporting period, there were no notifiable accidents or dangerous occurrences reported to Comcare as prescribed by section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
Investigations conducted during the year
There were no Provisional Improvement Notices (section 29), Prohibition Notices (section 46) or Improvement Notices (section 47) issued or investigations undertaken by Comcare arising out of CASA’s undertaking as an employer in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.
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 complying with CPGs and adhering to CASA’s policies and tendering processes. CASA conducts regular training sessions covering procurement policies and procedures.
CASA promotes participation by small to medium-sized enterprises in its procurement practices. In July 2007, 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 2007–08 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 2007–08, 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 2007–08, 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 2007–08, 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. The contract is currently up to the second of these extensions, with the contract due to expire in 2009.
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.
The amounts CASA paid during 2007–08 are detailed in Appendix 5.