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

Part 2: CASA's environment

Legislative framework

This section provides details of CASA's enabling legislation and primary functions, other legislation affecting the way we perform our functions and exercise our powers, and relevant legislative changes that occurred during the year.

Enabling legislation and functions

CASA was established on 6 July 1995 as an independent statutory authority by an amendment to the Civil Aviation Act 1988.

Under section 9 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988, CASA has the primary function of conducting the safety regulation of:

  • civil air operations in Australian territory
  • the operation of Australian registered aircraft outside Australian territory.

Section 9A of the Act requires CASA to regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration in the exercise of our powers and the performance of our functions.

The Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 and 1998, developed under the Civil Aviation Act 1988, provide for general regulatory controls over air navigation safety. The Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Regulations allow CASA to issue Civil Aviation Orders on detailed matters of regulation. CASA is progressively bringing the 1988 Regulations and the Civil Aviation Orders into the 1998 Regulations under its Regulatory Reform Program. The 1998 Regulations are now called the 'Civil Aviation Safety Regulations' (CASRs) following an amendment in December 2002.

CASA is also responsible for administering the requirement that operators hold insurance pursuant to the Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act 1959.

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Other legislation

Other legislation affecting CASA in the way we exercise our powers and perform our functions includes the:

  • Air Navigation Act 1920
  • Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997
  • Auditor-General Act 1997
  • Criminal Code Act 1995
  • Ombudsman Act 1976
  • Freedom of Information Act 1982
  • Privacy Act 1988
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975
  • Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.

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Legislative developments during the year

There were no changes to CASA's legislation that significantly affected our operations for the 2002–03 reporting year.

Aircraft maintenance changes

There were a number of changes made under the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment Act 2003 to:

  • enable alignment of Australian aircraft maintenance philosophies with those of other national airworthiness authorities and international (ICAO) standards
  • enable regulation of not only the technical aspects of aircraft maintenance, but also the control and management of aircraft maintenance
  • define certain terms for use in the Act and regulations.

Corporate governance and enforcement

The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2003, containing reforms to CASA's governance arrangements and new enforcement provisions, passed through Parliament on 9 October 2003 and is awaiting Royal assent. The new provisions will:

  • abolish the CASA Board and provide for the Director of Aviation Safety to report directly to the Minister
  • empower the Minister to set enforceable policy directions and performance standards for CASA
  • empower the Minister to establish consultation machinery for industry and stakeholders
  • introduce a number of significant changes to CASA's enforcement procedures, including:
    • an automatic stay of most CASA decisions to suspend or cancel licences
    • a requirement for Federal Court review of immediate suspension action undertaken in circumstances of serious and imminent risk
    • a demerit points system
    • a voluntary reporting system for minor contraventions
    • a system of voluntary enforceable undertakings.

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