Message from the Chair of the Board
The Board of CASA has now been in operation for the full year covered by this report. Appointed by the Minister and charged with the principal responsibility of ensuring that CASA conducts its business in a proper, effective and efficient manner, I believe that the Board has partnered and supported the CASA executive team and staff to deliver the demanding agenda set for the Board by the government.
While CASA’s functions are specified in the Civil Aviation Act 1988, its direction has been set by the 2009 National Aviation Policy Statement (the White Paper) and the 2010 Australian Airspace Policy Statement. The White Paper makes the explicit statement that: ‘…the government is committed to ensuring that it [aviation] remains as safe as it can be. Safety remains the number one priority of the government in aviation’. The Board has therefore approached its tasks mindful not only that safety is the paramount aviation priority of the government, but that the industry must also have this priority as the foundation of their sustainability and future growth.
The Minister has made it clear that CASA needs to be a firm, fair and effective regulator. The announcement of additional funding in the May 2010 Budget was welcome and will be used to strengthen oversight of the industry. CASA’s organisation is now settled and aligned more closely with the Civil Aviation Act and the Board is satisfied that resources are appropriately directed toward CASA’s core functions. The Board has also noted that through the leadership of the Director of Aviation Safety and his executive team, there are now improved governance arrangements designed to provide the foundation for more consistent action and advice to industry concerning the interpretation and application of legislation.
A subject that I wish to highlight this year is CASA’s achievement in regulatory development. Australia already has exacting aviation regulations, but these must be continually reviewed, refined and enhanced. This year the Board has reported substantial progress to government in a number of regulatory areas, including the requirement for safety management systems, human factors training for regular public transport operations, drug and alcohol management plans, and the preparation of a new suite of maintenance regulations. We are pleased with these achievements but also aware that the task of ensuring that Australia’s aviation regulations are relevant, effective and aligned with international best practice is an enduring and challenging responsibility. What we consider to be the optimum means of achieving the best possible safety outcomes today will no doubt be succeeded by better approaches in the future.
CASA’s Board has taken an active interest in all facets of CASA’s work and has held Board meetings in regional locations to gain a first hand perspective of the challenges and views of CASA staff. This has also enabled the Board to directly engage with key industry participants to obtain feedback on their issues and CASA’s performance. I am indebted to my fellow Board members for their support and endeavour during the year. CASA’s success relies on strong teamwork and the dedication of all its staff, and the Board wishes to record its appreciation for what in many cases has represented a contribution that is ‘above and beyond’ the expected.
The past year has been productive and we aim to build on the good results achieved thus far. In the year ahead CASA will remain focused on its core regulatory functions and on improving the quality and efficiency of its services to industry and all Australians who use our skies.
Allan Hawke AC
Chair of the Board