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CASA Annual Report 2002 03 Part 2: CASA's environment

Part 2: CASA's environment

Accountability framework

CASA is formally accountable to the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services and the Parliament. As well, we are subject to external scrutiny from various sources.

Governmental oversight

The Hon. John Anderson MP, Deputy Prime Minister, was sworn in on 21 October 1998 as the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, and was the responsible Minister at 30 June 2003.

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Ministerial powers

The Minister's powers in relation to CASA derive from the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act).

Section 12 of the Civil Aviation Act provides for the Minister to give CASA written directions about the performance of our functions or the exercise of our powers. However, directions relating to the exercise of CASA's regulatory functions are required to be of a general nature (for example, the Minister cannot direct CASA to give a particular person a licence).

The Minister may notify CASA, under section 12A of the Civil Aviation Act, of his or her views about the strategic direction for CASA, or the manner in which we should perform our functions. CASA must take the Minister's views into account.

Under section 12B of the Act, the Minister may direct CASA to provide a specified ministerial nominee with any documents or information relating to CASA's operations (including confidential documents or information) that the nominee requests.

CASA must include details of directions under sections 12 and 12B, and notices under section 12A in the annual report (section 49 of the Civil Aviation Act).

Under section 44 of the Civil Aviation Act, CASA's Corporate Plan must cover any specific matters required by the Minister, and under section 45, the Minister may direct the Board to vary the plan.

Under the CAC Act, the Minister is empowered to obtain such reports, documents and information in relation to CASA's operations as the Minister may require (section 16 of the Act).

The Minister may also notify CASA of general policies of the Australian Government that are to apply to CASA (section 28 of the CAC Act), which CASA is then required to carry out. Particulars of section 28 notices must be included in CASA's annual report in accordance with section 49 of the Civil Aviation Act.

Ministerial directions and notifications in 2002–03

During 2002–03 CASA received two notifications under section 28 of the CAC Act relating to:

  • implementation of a new Government policy on cost recovery
  • adherence to the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2002.

There were no other formal Ministerial directions or notifications.

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Aviation policy

During 2002–03 CASA continued to work towards the Government's strategic objectives for aviation safety set out in the Charter Letter issued by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services on 30 September 1999.

The Government's strategic vision has been for Australia to have a world-class aviation safety regulatory environment that includes:

  • an improving trend in accident and incident rates
  • a modernised certification system to encourage Australian aircraft manufacturers
  • a simple-to-follow, internationally-harmonised regulatory system.

In pursuing that vision, CASA has sought to meet the Government's requirements for a safety regulator:

  • whose presence in the chain of responsibility that links the passenger with the aircraft operator is respected at all levels of the aviation industry and has the confidence of the public
  • whose actions, in pursuit of sub-standard and non-compliant operators, demonstrate a nationally consistent approach, procedural fairness and anticipation of emerging safety deficiency trends
  • that emphasises a consultative and transparent approach by all staff
  • that actively promotes education aimed at accident prevention.

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Parliamentary oversight

CASA is subject to oversight of the following Parliamentary Committees:

  • Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
  • Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances
  • Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration
  • House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services.

In addition, all amendments to Regulations and Orders (and other disallowable instruments issued by CASA) are subject to disallowance by either House of Parliament.

Committee hearings

During 2002–03, CASA attended the following committee hearings by the Senate Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport:

  • hearing by the Legislation Committee into the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2003, May 2003
  • estimates hearings in November 2002, February 2003 and May 2003.

We also attended a hearing by the References Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories in connection with its review of the Department of Transport and Regional Services 2001–02 annual report.

Submissions

CASA made a submission to the inquiry being conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services into Commercial Regional Transport Services in Australia and Transport Links to Major Populated Islands.

Responses to Committee reports

CASA was involved in implementing the Government's response (tabled in June 2002) to the report of the Senate Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport inquiry into BAe146 cabin air quality. We are chairing the Cabin Air Quality Reference Group, which met twice during the year. The group comprises stakeholders drawn from the relevant government agencies, airlines, and passenger and flight crew organisations and is tasked with:

  • following the progress and analysing the outcomes of international research and developments and working cooperatively with other countries, major regulatory bodies and those conducting related research to develop a harmonised view of the cabin air environment
  • finalising any actions arising from the Government's response to the Recommendations of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee Report on Air Safety and Cabin Air Quality in the BAe146 Aircraft.

Disallowances

No CASA instruments were disallowed in 2002–03.

On 12 November 2002 Mr Martin Ferguson, AM, MP, moved a motion that Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 2), as contained in Statutory Rules 2002, No. 167 be disallowed.1 The motion was withdrawn when the Government tabled a letter setting out its agreement to certain amendments to the regulations. The regulations came into effect on 1 May 2003.

1. This regulatory package contained Part 65 (Air Traffic Services Licensing), Subpart 139H (Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting Services), Part 143 (Air Traffic Services Training Providers), Part 171 (Aeronautical Telecommunication Service and Radionavigation Service Providers) and Part 172 (Air Traffic Service Providers).

Parliamentary questions

During the period, CASA provided information for responses to 57 Parliamentary questions placed on notice and a further 37 questions arising from Senate Estimates hearings.

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Other external oversight

CASA's regulatory decisions are subject to merits review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (as specified in the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations), and judicial review by the Federal Court and other courts.

External scrutiny of CASA's operations and actions is also provided by the Australian National Audit Office, the Privacy Commissioner, the Ombudsman, State coroners and, in the course of incident and accident investigations, by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Australian National Audit Office

During the year, CASA participated in a number of multi-agency performance audits conducted by the Australian National Audit Office into:

  • absence management in the Australian Public Service
  • annual reporting on ecologically sustainable development
  • property management.

Administrative, judicial and other review

Table 5: Administrative Appeals Tribunal matters

   

Applications lodged

17

Applications on hand at 1 July 2002

17

Total

34

Decisions handed down: 2

 

Decisions affirmed

5

Decision substituted

1

Decisions set aside

2

Matters dismissed

1

Applications withdrawn by the applicant

9

Applications for review on hand at 30 June 2003

16

Total

34

2. Does not include interlocutory decisions.

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Table 6: Decisions that were the subject of applications to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 3

   

Cancellation of Air Operator's Certificate

1

Cancellation of Chief Pilot Approval

1

Refusal to issue Air Operator's Certificate

2

Cancellation of Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Licences

1

Refusal to issue Medical Certificate

3

Cancellation of Chief Pilot Approval and Air Operator's Certificate

1

Refusal to issue Certificate of Approval

1

Cancellation of Flight Crew Licence

2

Cancellation of Certificate of Approval

1

Cancellation of Private Pilot (Helicopter) Licence

1

Suspension of Commercial Pilot Licence

2

Suspension of Chief Pilot Approval

1

Cancellation of Class 1 and 2 Medical Certificate

1

Refusal to issue Class 1 and 2 Medical Certificate

2

Cancellation of Grade 1 Flying Instructor Rating

2

Cancellation of Private Pilot Licence

2

Approval of the construction of cranes to 50 metres instead of 120 metres

1

Refusal to issue Class 2 Medical Certificate

4

Refusal to issue Chief Pilot Approval

1

Cancellation of Special Certificate of Airworthiness

1

Cancellation of Chief Pilot Approval, Commercial Pilot Licence and refusal to re-issue Air Operator's Certificate

1

Cancellation of Private Pilot (Aeroplane) Licence, Commercial Pilot (Helicopter) Licence and Grade 2 Flight Instructor Helicopter Rating

1

Cancellation of Commercial Pilot Licence

1

3. Does not include decisions on Freedom of Information matters (see Appendix 1).

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Table 7: Federal Court - Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) matters

   

Applications filed

3

Applications on hand at 1 July 2002

2

Total

5

Proceedings discontinued

3

Decisions affirmed

2

Decisions set aside/overturned

0

Applications on hand at 30 June 2003

0

Total

5

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Table 8: Litigation matters

   

Proceedings filed

1

Proceedings on hand at 1 July 2002

5

Total

6

Proceedings discontinued

0

Settled

2

Proceedings on hand at 30 June 2003

4

Total

6

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Table 9: Coronial inquiries

   

New inquiries

1

Inquiries in progress at 1 July 2002

5

Total

6

Conclusions handed down

5

Inquiries in progress at 30 June 2003

1

Total

6

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Table 10: Ombudsman inquiries

   

Complaints received by the Ombudsman

19

Complaints finalised

19

Issues investigated by the Ombudsman

7

Finding of defective administration resulting from investigation

1

Exercise of discretion by the Ombudsman not to investigate issues

12

Referal of complaints back to CASA

5

Note: There was a 20.8% decrease over the previous year in the number of complaints relating to CASA received.

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