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Legislative changes - Explanatory statementStatutory Rules 2002 No. 266

Explanatory statement
Statutory Rules 2002 No. 266

Civil Aviation Act 1988
Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 5) (26K Adobe Acrobat file)

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Explanatory Statement

Section 98 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purposes of the Act including in relation to the safety of air navigation.

There are currently 2 sets of aviation safety regulations made under section 98: the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (the 1988 Regulations) and the Civil Aviation Regulation 1998 (the principal Regulations). As part of an extensive review of the aviation safety regulatory requirements in Australia, the 1988 Regulations are gradually being replaced by the principal Regulations. However, both sets of Regulations will continue to operate concurrently over the next several years until the 1988 Regulations have been completely replaced by the principal Regulations.

Part 101 of the principal Regulations covers the operation of unmanned balloons, rockets, a new class of aircraft called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (which include model aircraft and other unmanned aircraft) and firework displays. Part 101 was made on 21 December 2001 and took effect on 1 July 2002.

The Regulations amend the principal Regulations to include in Part 101 exemptions from various requirements in the 1988 Regulations that are not relevant to UAVs, such as requirements relating to the carriage of passengers, responsibilities of flight crew, aircraft performance and the restriction on the operation of UAVs in certain locations.

The amendments were necessary to overcome a technical drafting error which occurred when Part 101 was made in December 2001. Initial drafting of the exemption provisions in Part 101 was based on an outdated version of the 1988 Regulations. An earlier amendment of the 1988 Regulations in December 1999 had the effect of altering all the Part numbers within those Regulations. This amendment was overlooked when Part 101 was made. The result was that the exemption of UAVs from compliance with Parts 9 and 14 of the 1988 Regulations, essential for the proper operation of Part 101, was inadvertently omitted. Without these exemptions, UAVs are technically required to comply with requirements in the 1988 Regulations that were not intended to apply to UAVs.

Part 9 of the 1988 Regulations regulates aerodromes and their use. The provisions in Part 9 are inappropriate for UAVs. For example, regulation 92 provides in part that an aircraft must only take-off from, or land at, areas that are licensed aerodromes or are otherwise suitable for use as aerodromes. As part of their normal operation, UAVs are required to take-off from, or land at, places that may not be licensed or may otherwise be inappropriate for use as aerodromes by normal aircraft. Unless UAVs are exempted from requirements such as regulation 92, they will not be able to operate in the way originally intended.

Part 14 of the 1988 Regulations deals with the safety of commercial operations in normal aircraft. The requirements in Part 14 relating to the carriage of passengers, responsibilities of flight crew and aircraft performance are inappropriate for UAVs and it is therefore necessary to exempt UAVs from such requirements.

Equivalent provisions to ensure the safety of commercial UAV operations, where appropriate, have been incorporated in Part 101.

The Office of Regulation Review (ORR) advises that the preparation of a Regulation Impact Statement is not mandatory for the amendment, which is considered to be minor or machinery in nature and does not substantially alter existing arrangements.

The Regulations are expressed to commence on 1 July 2002 to coincide with the commencement of Part 101 of the principal Regulations. In accordance with subsection 48(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is satisfied that the retrospective commencement of the Regulations:

  1. will not disadvantage the rights of any person as at the date of notification of the Regulations; and
  2. will not impose liabilities on any person in relation to anything done or omitted to be done before the notification of the Regulations.