CASA CEO, Bruce Byron address at Gippsland Aeronautics
Production of 100th GA8 Airvan
23 August 2006
Minister Truss, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am very pleased to be back here at Gippsland Aeronautics – which is Australia's leading aircraft manufacturer – on such an important day.
It is, as Mr Truss has indicated, no mean feat to have built 100 Airvan's and exported many of these aircraft to locations across the Globe.
As we all know, Australia only has a small aircraft manufacturing industry, so it took a great deal of vision, dedication and plain old elbow grease to make Gippsland Aeronautics the reality it is today.
From my previous visits here I know that you pride yourselves on quality, safety and simplicity as keystones to your success.
You think about what your clients need from their aircraft and set about finding simple design and manufacturing solutions.
You don't wait for the market to come to you, instead you take the answers to your market.
I believe your approach to aviation and business has important lessons for us all that can be sensibly applied to other organisations and pursuits.
Your commitment to finding practical solutions, while thinking about your customers needs and remaining focussed on safety, resonates strongly with me.
You will be pleased to know that in my own organisation – the Civil Aviation Safety Authority - we are taking a similar approach.
As many of you will know, I have been driving a program of change within CASA over the last two years to make sure Australia's air safety regulator is focussed on achieving the best possible safety outcomes for the aviation industry.
I have reviewed the way CASA works, made changes to the how we are structured and set new priorities and goals.
We've hired new people, adopted a risk management approach to safety oversight and started to change the way we think about our work and our relationship with the aviation industry.
And it is this last point – CASA's relationship with the aviation industry – where Gippsland Aeronautics' approach really helped my thinking.
While CASA is primarily a safety regulator and auditor, it also has an important role as provider of regulatory services to the aviation industry.
You can't sell your aircraft without Type Certification from CASA and you can't do much of your day-to-day work without delegations and approvals from us.
But I have to admit that in years past CASA hasn't always provided these regulatory services in the best possible way.
In the past CASA has sometimes made subjective judgements, been too slow or cumbersome and generally unresponsive to industry needs.
My commitment to CASA and the aviation industry has been to stamp out these problems by insisting we work with the industry and, just like Gippsland Aeronautics, look for simple solutions that meet the legitimate needs of industry, while maintaining high safety standards.
It is CASA's job to make sure international and Australian safety standards are achieved by industry, but it is not our job to put roadblocks in the path of business development and innovation.
CASA must make transparent and consistent decisions on issues of safety and empower the aviation industry to forge its own way ahead, here in Australia and on the international stage.
Just quickly, I will tell you about two very recent changes within CASA which are firmly aimed at achieving this goal.
CASA has now established a manufacturing support office to consolidate all our manufacturing expertise and provide industry with a one-stop-shop for services and assistance.
The location of the office, at Moorabbin Airport, was chosen very deliberately to be not too far from Australia's leading aircraft manufacturer – your very own Gippsland Aeronautics.
You can hop in an aircraft here and fly to our doorstep to do your business – or we can easily come to you, as required.
The new manufacturing support office has staff dedicated to both design engineering and manufacturing inspection, and by working as a team they will deliver consistent services and decisions.
The second initiative is the creation of an office within CASA to manage the many delegations provided to the aviation industry and authorised persons.
CASA wants to be able to develop the range of tasks industry delegates can perform, while ensuring safety standards and appropriate oversight is maintained.
Industry has a great pool of expertise and CASA must use this when it is correct to do so.
My goal is to keep CASA firmly focussed on achieving positive safety outcomes, while working with the aviation industry in an open and accountable way.
If we do this I believe there will be more success stories in Australian aviation, just like Gippsland Aeronautics.
Bruce Byron AM
Chief Executive Officer
23 August 2006