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CASA Annual Report 2002 03 Part 5: Corporate management report

Part 5: Corporate management report

Stakeholder relationships

CASA's objective is to understand, have the respect of, and work with the governmental system and wider Australian and international communities.

Initiatives, developments and issues in 2002–03

CASA's strategies to meet this objective were developed as part of Critical Success Factor 9 in our Corporate Plan for 2002–03 to 2004–05.

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Government and Parliament

In 2002–03 we more than met our target by answering 95 per cent of requests for input to ministerial correspondence/briefings and Parliamentary questions on time. Where circumstances required, these responses were provided within an extended timeframe agreed with the Department of Transport and Regional Services.

A KPMG audit of our parliamentary workflow management found no major issues for us to address.

In the context of the KPMG audit, staff from the Ministers' office and the Department of Transport and Regional Services reported that CASA is:

  • responsive to requests (particularly those relating to urgent or sensitive matters)
  • aware of emerging issues
  • proactive in keeping the Minister's staff and the Department abreast of significant developments.

The audit found, however, that we could improve aspects of our handling of more routine matters.

A number of recommendations were made for adopting best practice in relation to defining policies and procedures, improving the usefulness of the information we provide and reinforcing the importance of timeliness throughout the organisation.

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Aviation community

We maintained a strong commitment to the Service Charter published last financial year and worked at addressing criticisms relating to the effectiveness and efficiency of our regulatory activities. In 2002–03 we:

  • set about building a stronger service culture among all our staff
  • further improved our consultative processes for regulatory reform
  • acted on findings and suggestions of the Special Adviser on Regulatory Reform
  • further improved the quality and timeliness of regulatory servicing, including achieving ISO9001:2000 quality certification for some regulatory services
  • introduced a raft of measures to further improve the consistency and fairness of our regulatory decision-making.

During the year CASA received 66 complaints that had reference to the Service Charter. We actioned and responded to 97 per cent of those complaints within the Service Charter timeframe.

We received over 100 calls to the CASA Hotline, which was set up to give people straightforward and confidential access to us about aviation safety concerns. Many of these calls came from people working in the industry who wanted to bring to light troubling practices relating to flight and duty rostering, maintenance, reporting of incidents and defects, validity of licences and so on. Others came from members of the public who wished to raise concerns about low and dangerous flying, and to report incidents that occurred on flights upon which they were travelling. The Hotline is an extremely valuable source of safety intelligence for CASA and we promptly addressed all concerns raised.

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International

International Civil Aviation Organization

CASA provided strong support to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) during 2002–03, resulting in a view by the Australian Council member that we had met or exceeded our target of 90 per cent satisfaction. See Appendix 6 for a report on CASA's involvement.

Financial constraints increasingly curtailed CASA activity in the second half of the year. A review is currently underway to identify and prioritise CASA's ICAO-related activities with a view to ensuring the most critical activities continue to receive a high level of support. However, with ongoing financial constraints there may be pressure on CASA's contribution to ICAO in areas where CASA has traditionally been a significant participant.

Open Skies agreement with New Zealand

CASA contributed, with other portfolio agencies, towards identifying and submitting all required regulatory change under the Open Skies agreement by the target date of December 2003. Regular meetings between Australian and New Zealand officials, including the high-level Steering Group and the Operational and Legal Sub-Groups, were held during the year.

The required legislative and regulatory changes to achieve mutual recognition of aviation safety certification were introduced on both sides of the Tasman in June 2003. Work is proceeding to finalise the bilateral agreements underpinning mutual recognition and to establish operational arrangements between CASA and the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.

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Bilateral arrangements

CASA made substantial progress during the year towards establishing bilateral arrangements with a number of other nations.

We continued work on a bilateral aviation safety agreement with the United States. The text of an Implementation Procedure for Airworthiness (IPA) was agreed with the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Finalisation of the Executive Agreement of the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement is now close following consultations between the Department of Transport and Regional Services and the United States State Department. We also began work on extending the scope of the agreed IPA and considerations relating to establishing a Maintenance Implementation Procedure in anticipation of signing of the Executive Agreement.

We signed a mutual recognition agreement in relation to certification of aircraft and aircraft products with Germany in June 2003, following reciprocal visits between CASA and the German Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA) during the year.

Reciprocal visits between CASA and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority took place during the year with funding and technical assistance from the aviation industry. An agreement for accepting Australian light aircraft in the United Kingdom is under negotiation, with a view to completion by September 2003.

Signing of the mutual recognition agreement

At the signing of the mutual recognition agreement, pictured L to R: Markus Goernemann (LBA), Ralph Murphy, Bruce Gemmell, Bill McIntyre, John Gratton, Franz Schoeneman (LBA)

Financial constraints delayed progress towards finalising a maintenance agreement with Canada and a certification agreement with Brazil. However, it is expected that both of these will be back on track in the second half of 2003. Initial discussions on a certification agreement have also been held with Canada.

The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) precluded further progress towards finalising a certification agreement with China. We expect to progress this agreement in early 2004.

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Pacific Aviation Safety Office

CASA has been a strong contributor to the development of the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) over the last 12 months. PASO will provide a group of aviation technical experts in the Pacific to undertake the needs of aviation safety surveillance and regulation on behalf, initially, of six small island states. This critical role will be undertaken in a regional, standardised and cost effective manner while allowing the continuation of the decision-making responsibilities of the individual States.

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Communication

Good communication, both internal and external, is key to greater effectiveness and efficiency for CASA.

Internal

Our national organisation and range of separate but interacting regulatory roles pose challenges for communications within CASA. These challenges were reflected in the results of the Employment Survey.

In 2002–03 we developed and began implementing an internal communication strategy, which involves identifying how communication works in CASA, building on what works well and giving staff new communication tools. The strategy focuses on achieving better bottom-up as well as top-down communication.

We re-established our public relations staff as a Corporate Communication team to reflect the importance of its internal as well as its external role.

One way of achieving better two-way communication was a series of visits by the Director of Aviation Safety and other members of the Executive to speak with staff in offices around the country. The importance of more face-to-face communication was one of the strong messages staff sent in the employee survey.

We have begun developing communication tools, including an intranet-based functional directory, which will help staff find the right people with the right expertise throughout the organisation.

Media

Sound relations with the media were maintained during the year by continuing a policy of open, honest and timely communications. We are developing a new media communications strategy to ensure all staff understand the approach, its reasons and benefits for the organisation.

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Where to from here

In 2003–04 CASA will be addressing the KPMG audit recommendations relating to our Parliamentary workflow management. We will also be continuing to implement our internal communication strategy as well as moving forward with our external communications strategy.

In terms of international relations, we will progress bilateral arrangements with targeted countries. Another important task for the year will be to develop an effective working relationship with the newly established European Aviation Safety Agency. We will also be taking a whole-of-CASA look at how to provide the highest possible quality of support and assistance to ICAO panels and working groups.

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