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CASA Annual Report 2003 04 Part 1: Overview of CASA in 2003-04

Overview of CASA in 2003–04

The year ahead

Surveillance activity

CASA will begin whole-of-industry risk audits in the airline sector and make the necessary preparations for the introduction of similar audits in the general aviation sector. This broadening of CASA’s risk-based surveillance from a solely individual to a systemic risk focus is expected to achieve significant risk mitigation in the targeted areas.

CASA will also continue a broad review of the safety of the aviation system begun in 2003–04 to identify major risks by sector and test CASA’s activities against those risks. The review is intended to ensure that the finite resources of both CASA and the industry are deployed in areas and ways that will have the greatest impact on safety outcomes.

As part of its commitment to a partnership in safety with industry, CASA’s general aviation inspectors will be spending more time in the field and will play a mentoring role to help industry members to comply with aviation safety requirements as well as policing non-compliance.

Regulatory reform

CASA’s intention is that the bulk of the Regulatory Reform Program will be completed during 2004–05. Although the consultation and regulatory development processes for many of the outstanding Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Parts are substantially complete, bringing the program to a conclusion will require considerable commitment from CASA, the aviation industry and the Standards Consultative Committee.

CASA anticipates that regulatory reform implementation will continue over the next five to seven years as the new rules come into effect at various times and with various transition periods to allow industry time to adapt.

Uncertainties associated with the timing for introducing various regulatory packages will continue to affect development of training and education initiatives and finalisation of stakeholder, resource and transition plans.

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Photographic pilot licences

CASA expects to issue approximately 1500 photographic licences to new pilots (student pilots and pilots converting overseas pilot licences) during 2004–05. Planning for converting existing flight crew licences to the new photographic format is advanced and CASA anticipates processing about 6300 existing Air Transport Pilot Licences and approximately 5200 Commercial Pilot Licences during the year. CASA will also:

  • introduce a number of changes to integrate the photo licence, and background and security checks into CASA’s flight crew licensing system
  • provide input to changing the legislative and regulatory frameworks for requiring checks to be conducted by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, and the Australian Federal Police, and for fees to be charged to recover the associated costs.

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Data-based decision making

CASA has embarked on a program that will place greater emphasis on underpinning high-level decision making and planning with data analysis.

A priority for this new capability in 2004–05 will be the objective demonstration of the safety effectiveness of CASA’s actions. CASA will also be looking to measure and benchmark organisational performance in a number of key areas including communication and consultation, efficiency, and timeliness.

Postgraduate Scholarship Program

In accordance with its obligations as a member state of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), CASA undertakes safety research and database analysis to improve aviation safety. CASA has now established a postgraduate scholarship program and will offer the first scholarships in 2005. The program will fund one-off research projects suggested by participants and/or academic institutions and encourage researchers from a broad range of related disciplines to consider or to progress aviation safety research.

Funding has been provided for the initial award of up to four scholarships, with each award a maximum of $25 000 (including GST). Given the public interest and the range of safety-related issues available, interest in the postgraduate scholarship program is expected to be high. The program will be reviewed during the third quarter of 2005 to ensure it is on track to meet objectives.

The program is intended to:

  • provide innovative worthwhile research into aviation safety
  • increase the pool of aviation safety researchers by encouraging postgraduate and doctoral students undertaking academic research in aviation-related fields to undertake specific research into aviation safety issues
  • establish stronger relationships between current or future participants in the Australian aviation industry and CASA, through the conduct of practical safety-related research.

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Funding

CASA’s budgetary position will be improved in 2004–05 following the Government’s decision to provide additional funding of $29.2 million over four years. This will be used to assist CASA to maintain its long-term financial position.

CASA’s ongoing financial position has been weakened by changes in the aviation industry, which has resulted in lower aviation fuel consumption (part of CASA’s budget funding is directly linked to aviation fuel excise collections). The Government considered CASA’s financial position in the 2003–04 Budget and agreed to increase aviation fuel excise for one year. Government has since decided to retain the rate of aviation fuel excise at 2.854 cents per litre and this is reflected in the 2005–06 Budget.

The additional funding also includes $3.2 million from Appropriations in 2004–05 to ensure the sustainability of CASA’s financial position without impacting on its capacity to regulate the safety of civil air operations in Australia and for Australian aircraft overseas. Meanwhile, CASA is to examine operating costs to identify the potential for efficiencies and containment of costs.

The Government has requested that CASA review its long-term funding arrangements, including any scope for a reduction in the reliance on fuel excise in the longer term, and a strategy for achieving long-term sustainability at no further cost to the budget. Revised funding arrangements for CASA will be considered in the context of the 2005–06 Budget.

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Fees

On 12 July 2004, CASA increased the rates for existing charges for the present limited number of regulatory services covered by the fees regulations. The increases in charges are expected to increase cost recovery from the current $3.1 million to $5 million. CASA will be undertaking a detailed activity-based review to accurately cost the full range of regulatory services that CASA provides to the aviation industry with the aim of phasing in full cost recovery arrangements from 1 July 2005.

National Airspace System

CASA will continue to play a key role in the safety oversight of the changes to Australian airspace as they are progressively introduced.

CASA will need to make further amendments to standards (e.g. CAO 92.3), the Aeronautical Information Publication, Civil Aviation Advisory Publications (CAAPs) and possibly regulations (CAR 166, CASR 71) to support National Airspace System changes.

CASA will continue to assist with education and training, and with stakeholder liaison on National Airspace System issues as appropriate.

 

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