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CASA Annual Report 2004-05 - CEO

Chief Executive Officer

Letter of transmittal

14 October 2003

The Hon Warren Truss MP
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

On behalf of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), I present to you the Annual Report for the reporting year 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005.

The report has been prepared in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 and the associated Orders made under the Act, and in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act 1988. The report includes a report of operations, financial statements and the Auditor-General's Report on those financial statements, as required under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

In accordance with section 9 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, I certify that I am responsible for the preparation and content of the report in accordance with the Finance Minister's Orders.

I also certify that I am satisfied that CASA has in place appropriate fraud control mechanisms that meet the Authority's needs and comply with the guidelines applying to this financial year.

Yours sincerely

Signature of Bruce Byron AM

Bruce Byron AM

Director of Aviation Safety
and Chief Executive Officer

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From the Chief Executive Officer

At the end of 2004-05 CASA is well placed to take the regulation of Australian air safety to a new level of maturity. In prospect is a CASA that makes an even greater contribution to air safety, works more effectively with the aviation industry and continues to build public confidence in air travel. My goal is for a CASA that uses its resources more efficiently, and puts them where they will make the most significant impact in achieving improved safety. Importantly, I also want to see an aviation industry that is confident in its acceptance of the responsibility it has for delivering safety each and every day, on each and every flight, as part of the responsibility it shares with CASA for aviation safety.

I am sure that in hindsight the past year will be seen as highly significant for CASA. Public surveys tell us the Australian community believes CASA is doing a good job and has the public's confidence that safety in the skies is being maintained at high levels. While this is very positive it is, however, not a basis for standing still. That is why during the past year I have been discussing with people in CASA and the aviation industry about how we can improve the regulation of aviation safety and how we can best meet public expectations. The outcome has been a plan for change and new and better ways of doing our job.

Even though CASA is at an early stage of the reform process, much was achieved during 2004-05. A key initiative was the development of an industry sector priority policy for CASA. In simple terms, this sets out CASA's high-level regulatory priorities. The policy is based on a common sense approach. However, it is critical because for the first time we have clearly set out how we will approach the task of regulating safety, which is by putting the safety of passengers first.

This priority policy now guides the way CASA will allocate its people and other resources. Naturally, it does not mean CASA is withdrawing from the lower priority areas of aviation, but it does mean we will look for less resource intensive ways to contribute to safety in those sectors. Our aim will be to give the proper level of support for the sectors lower on the priority list to help them to take greater responsibility themselves for maintaining safety, with education and training an obvious starting point. Where people in the aviation industry put the optimal effort into safety and take safety seriously, CASA can contribute as a safety mentor and partner. But if safety corners are cut or the rules deliberately broken, CASA will be ready to take strong and decisive action.

To focus our minds on the need and direction for change, I established a reform program, "Building a new CASA", emphasising that change is happening and improvement is required. But I did stress to staff that creating a new CASA does not mean that everything in the past was being jettisoned. We are, in fact, using the hard work that has gone before as the foundation for building a new CASA, which will meet the safety regulatory needs of the aviation industry in the 21st Century.

The 'new CASA' program has four goals for our organisation. CASA must:

  • Make a real and lasting contribution to aviation safety
  • Be efficient and cost effective
  • Have good relations with those in the industry who are focussed on safety
  • Be accountable to parliament, the government and the travelling public.

These goals, and the industry sector priority policy, has become a benchmark for all the activities CASA undertakes, from surveillance to regulatory services. We have begun the process of examining what we do and how we do it against these reform principles. If any activity is low on the industry priority policy and does not make a real contribution to safety, then the obvious question is why is CASA putting resources into this activity. At the same time, we are asking whether the activities required to maintain and improve safety are being undertaken in the most effective way. We are looking for better ways of working, and for using our resources as efficiently as we can.

Our relationship with industry is very important because the regulator alone cannot deliver safety. We want to work in a partnership with everyone in the aviation industry who takes safety seriously and who puts the right resources into safety. CASA will offer support and guidance to those people who make safety their highest priority, just as we will take action against people who ignore their safety responsibilities.

I place great store on accountability as it is a key element in ensuring we are performing as we should. The Australian public and its parliamentary representatives rely on CASA and its people to be their aviation safety guardians. In turn, it is our responsibility to openly report on what we are achieving.

During the next 12 months, the building a new CASA program will promote change right across the organisation, with operational and support areas all under scrutiny and subject to reform. I fully expect to see some activities cease, others altered substantially and many people working in different ways. We will look at everything from the location of our offices to the responsibilities given to our management and staff. There will be changes in the way we undertake surveillance, with more resources allocated to front-line activities, spending more 'time on the tarmac' with aviation industry operators, and more checking of operations. This will mean less reliance on formal audits as the sole means of surveillance, with more intelligence gathering and a greater focus on working with aviation industry people to solve safety problems. A substantial number of change projects have been initiated.

One of the key initial reform steps in the reform process has been the development and implementation of a new structure for CASA. We have created six core groups within the organisation that better meet the needs of the aviation industry and improve our focus on core safety issues. The new Air Transport Operations Group is responsible for operations of larger aircraft, with the General Aviation Operations Group for aircraft in the smaller categories. There is now a Manufacturing, Certification and New Technologies office, a Personnel Licensing and Training Group, and a Legal Services Group. The final group is Information Services, bringing together CASA's information technology and knowledge management functions. This structure has been designed to ensure CASA people are working in more effective teams, focussed on defined and improved safety outcomes.

One consequence of the new structure is the integration of regulatory standards development with the rest of CASA's operations. In the past, people working on writing new aviation safety standards or reviewing existing regulations were grouped together and away from the people carrying out surveillance or other frontline activities. This risked the creation of 'silos', with the possibility that rules could be developed without full regard to their day-to-day operation. As the Regulatory Reform Programme continues, the new arrangements will support the development of better rules that deliver better safety outcomes.

Already there have been changes to the way the Programme is being run. I have made it clear that new rules must address known or likely safety risks and must make a real contribution to safety. Rules for the sake of rules is not an acceptable outcome of reform. It is also extremely important for the new regulatory regime to be easy to understand and work within. Complex rules without good reason are not acceptable. This means new rules need to focus on the safety outcomes we are seeking to achieve and must be developed within a simple two-tier framework of the Civil Aviation Act and Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. CASA will continue to work to introduce new rules in a measured way, minimising the demands on industry as far as possible.

I am very pleased that during the last year CASA has been able to place additional focus on the flying training industry. A range of initiatives are under way to improve the quality of flying training, work that will pay safety dividends in the future. I recognise that for some time there has been concern that not enough was being done to support the flying training industry. A special group was set up - the Flying Training Industry Development Panel - to change this situation. The Panel is made up of people from CASA and the flying training industry and is looking at key issues such as professional development for flight instructors and the publication of a new flight instructor's manual. The reaction of the aviation industry to this work has been very positive and CASA will continue to strongly support flying training improvements.

The focus on change and reform in CASA over the last year has placed additional demands on many of our people. Reviews bring uncertainty and change can be unsettling.

In the past year I have visited all of CASA's offices around Australia to speak with staff about the new directions. From talking to people right across CASA it is clear there is a good understanding of why we need to change and what we are striving to achieve.

Our staff, and their commitment to the reform goals, are essential to the development of a highly professional organisation that is ready to face the challenges of the future. The positive attitude of CASA's people points to a sound future for CASA and promises even better air safety for Australians.

I thank our management and staff for the contribution they made in the past year, and for what I expect they will contribute to the new CASA as the reform program moves forward.

Signature of Edward G Anson AM

Bruce Byron AM

Chief Executive Officer

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