Overview of CASA rule making principles and obligations
1. Guiding principles
CASA works in cooperation with the aviation community to maintain and enhance aviation safety. Full detail of CASA's guiding principles for the development and application of aviation safety regulations can be found in our regulatory philosophy and DAS Directive - 01/2015 located on the directives and policies page.
CASA is committed to ensuring that regulatory changes are justified on the basis of safety risk and do not impose unnecessary costs or unnecessarily hinder participation in aviation and its capacity for growth. The guiding principles underlying this commitment extend to the application and administration of the regulations by CASA, to the fullest practicable extent consistent with the interests of safety.
The principles outlined in the DAS Directive are reflected in CASA's standards development activities, which are transparent, inclusive and consistently applied.
2. Australian legislation
CASA's primary function is to conduct the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australia and the operation of Australian aircraft overseas.
The requirement to produce standards for the safety of civil air operations in Australia is explicitly stated in Section 9 of the CAA.
CASA has the function of conducting the safety regulation of the civil air operations in Australian territory by developing and promulgating appropriate, clear and concise aviation safety standards.
Under paragraph 9(2)(b) of the CAA, CASA must promote full and effective consultation and communication with all interested parties on aviation safety issues.
CASA is also required to provide comprehensive safety education and training programs, cooperate with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), and to administer certain features of Part IVA of the Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act 1959.
CASA has other obligations under the CAA and Airspace Act 2007, as described below.
2.1 Civil Aviation Act
The CAA does not generally contain detailed rules governing aviation safety—such matters are contained within the regulations and other legislative instruments that are made under the CAA. The CAA does, however, provide for CASA's responsibilities and scope of authority:
- Section 3A provides that the object of the CAA is to promote and enhance the safety of civil aviation, with a particular emphasis on prevention aviation accidents and incidents.
- Section 9A requires that CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration when carrying out its functions. Section 9A also provides that, subject to air safety considerations, CASA should, as far as practicable, carry out its functions in a manner that protects the environment from the effects of, and associated with, the operation and use of aircraft.
- Section 11A provides that CASA must exercise its powers and perform its functions in a manner consistent with the Australian Airspace Policy Statement, which is made by the Minister under subsection 8(1) of the Airspace Act 2007.
- Section 16 provides that, in the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers, CASA must, where appropriate, consult with government, commercial, industrial, consumer and other relevant bodies and organisations (including ICAO and bodies representing the aviation industry).
- Section 23 provides for CASA to regulate the carriage of dangerous goods.
- Section 98 gives CASA the power to make and amend delegated legislation; however, the scope of the delegated legislation is constrained by the scope of the power provided by the CAA. New or amended legislation would be deemed invalid if the scope was found to extend beyond the powers provided by the CAA.
2.2 Legislation Act 2003
Section 17 of the Legislation Act 2003 requires that, before making any legislative instrument, the rule maker is satisfied that any appropriate and reasonably practicable consultation has been undertaken. CASA must make a case-by-case assessment of what consultation is practicable and appropriate, given the nature, complexity and impact of the proposed legislative instrument.
2.3 Airspace Act 2007
The Airspace Act 2007 provides that regulations may confer functions and powers on CASA in connection with the administration and regulation of Australian-administered airspace. It states that, in performing its functions and in exercising its powers conferred under the regulations, CASA must foster efficient use of Australian-administered airspace and equitable access for all users of that airspace.
The Airspace Act 2007 also requires CASA to conduct regular reviews of:
- the existing classifications of volumes of Australian-administered airspace in order to determine whether those classifications are appropriate
- the existing services and facilities provided by the providers of air navigation services in relation to particular volumes of Australian-administered airspace in order to determine whether those services and facilities are appropriate
- Australian-administered airspace generally, in order to identify risk factors and to determine whether there is safe and efficient use of that airspace and equitable access to it for all users.
The Airspace Act 2007 also states that the Minister may request advice from CASA on a matter related to the Australian Airspace Policy Statement, and details CASA's powers to make determinations regulating Australian-administered airspace.
3. International agreements and commitments
3.1 Convention on International Civil Aviation
Section 11 of the CAA provides that CASA is required to perform its functions in a manner consistent with Australia's obligations under international agreements relating to the safety of air navigation.
Australia is a signatory to a number of relevant international conventions. The principal convention of relevance to CASA is the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention). Australia ratified the Chicago Convention on 1 March 1947 and is obliged to comply with the standards and recommended practices (SARPs) set out in annexes to the Chicago Convention.
Under Article 37 of the Chicago Convention, Australia has undertaken to collaborate with the other contracting states:
…to secure the highest practicable degree of uniformity in regulations, standards, procedures and organisation in relation to aircraft, personnel, airways and auxiliary services…
The Chicago Convention requires that when a State finds it impracticable to comply in all respects with international standards or procedures, or if a State otherwise takes a decision to differ from international standards, the State is required to notify that difference to ICAO. Differences are published by ICAO in an electronic supplement to the Annexes to the Chicago Convention, and all differences are published by Australia through the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).
CASA is responsible for assessing ICAO Annex changes and proposing compliant rules and regulations through the standards development process, where appropriate1.
1CASA Regulatory Policy DAS-PN025-2010 located on the directives and policies page.
3.2 Harmonisation with foreign rules
CASA is also committed to harmonising its regulatory requirements with the standards and practices (where appropriate) of the major aviation countries. In developing the Australian rules for aviation safety, CASA typically reviews and assesses comparable rules of the:
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) – European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
- New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (NZ CAA)
- Transport Canada (TC).
Where it is appropriate to incorporate or reflect the rules of other major aviation countries, CASA makes whatever changes are required to reflect the Australian operating environment.
It is important to note that if CASA legislation incorporates international, foreign or industry standards by way of reference (either as of a fixed date or as amended from time to time), then the identification of Australian differences with the SARPs must take into account the differences contained in the international, foreign or industry standards.
CASA aims to conduct a review of current compliance and differences, including for incorporated foreign legislation. This is undertaken in conjunction with the confirmation (or otherwise) of all differences registered with ICAO and the updating of the ICAO Compliance Checklists that indicated Australia's compliance or non-compliance with ICAO SARPs. This update is required for the annual Annex amendments applicable in November each year.
The process reveals any changes in adopted foreign legislation and standards, any differences filed by the foreign authority in relation to this legislation and the subsequent registration or removal of differences to coincide with the foreign legislation/standard.
3.3 ICAO panel membership
Any CASA nominations for membership on an ICAO Panel or working group are assessed initially by the Executive Manager, Standards Division. Once the nomination is confirmed, CASA's International Relations Section seeks agreement within the Australia ICAO Tripartite group (including the Australia Council member based in Montreal) for the appointment.
Before attending ICAO Panel or working group meetings, members must meet with Standards Division management to discuss the work plan and emerging issues for the upcoming meeting, and to reach agreement on CASA's position.
If the Australian representation involves other agencies, a joint CASA–agency meeting will be held to determine the Australian position.
Upon return from the meeting, a debrief will be held with Standards Division management and external agencies (as applicable). An internal CASA work plan will then be developed or amended accordingly, if required.