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Opening address - Papua New Guinea Aviation Conference
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - 15 to 16 August 2016
- Thank you for the introduction. It’s great to be here today and a warm welcome to everyone at this annual conference. This is my second time in PNG and second year in a row at the conference. Great to see some ex CASA personnel in the audience. I see today’s gathering as an opportunity to share and discuss points of mutual interest.
- CASA Australia and CASA PNG continue to have a very good regulator-to-regulator relationship - we have worked together on technical aspects, including surveillance and issuing of Air Operator Certificates. I only hope that this relationship will continue to operate in a strong and positive way to protect the safety of the travelling public in Australia and PNG.
- Let me talk about the change program that was concluded in June and provide reasons behind why the changes were necessary. I titled the change program as ‘Renewing CASA’ as not all what we do had to change.
- When I was appointed in January 2015, in line with the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (this is the Australian Government initiated review) and the Statement of Expectations from the Minister, I instituted a functional review of CASA. The review identified some major findings in how we operate, how we engage with the industry, and how we are financed.
- Further, the review found a large number of inefficiencies and layers and layers of management and committees. It found we worked in silos and wasted a lot of time doing activities which either don’t need to be done, or could be done better. It showed we have bloated systems and processes that are not fit for purpose and ultimately, we are starting to lose sight of what we are here to do - to keep Australian skies safe.
- We also found that some of our services to the aviation industry are carried out in isolation to other parts in the business, and our clients receive fragmented and mixed messages, and have to deal with multiple people rather than having a single point of contact and a consistent message. Currently, operators receive communications from multiple parts of CASA ¾ their regional office, licensing and registration centre, standards, corporate relations, safety education and promotion, just to name a few. The challenges faced in coordinating these multiple channels results in poor messaging from CASA. The end result is frustrated staff, wasted time, money and resources, and, poor client service.
- Another focus was to ensure that I have a collaborative organisation that engages with its stakeholders and is sustainable into the future. A number of complementary functions had to be brought together to more directly meet the safety and regulatory needs of the aviation community, create a financially sustainable organisation and to sharpen focus on stakeholder engagement. The changes have streamlined CASA’s senior management structure and reduced the number of senior managers.
- Therefore, without being overly imaginative to address the key findings of the review, I have based the New CASA structure on three main groups - Aviation (the collaborative group), Sustainability Group and Stakeholder Engagement Group. These three groups will be supported by three main branches - Legal Affairs, Regulatory Policy and International Strategy Branch, Finance Branch and Strategy, Quality and Intelligence Branch.
- The new structure has been carefully developed to align our activities with the aviation community and to make sure we are effectively delivering CASA’s functions as set out in the Civil Aviation Act. I do not want CASA to be a heavy handed regulator, nor a ‘light’ regulator. We must have the capability and corporate intelligence to determine the right regulatory stance for each set of circumstances. CASA will not be a ‘one size fits all’ safety regulator. Importantly we must focus on how we engage with industry going forward. We must continue to build trusted relationships with all our stakeholders as we work towards becoming genuine partners in safety. To sum-up all these in three words, I want CASA to be a fair, firm and consistent regulator and I firmly believe that this new structure will be a catalyst for the change.
- As I’ve said before, the Renewing CASA program was completed at the end of June. However, there will be a significant body of work that will follow to ensure we get the culture and leadership I want in the organisation. I’m working on it right now my new Executive Leadership Team.
- CASA’s Regulatory Reform Program started way back in 1988. I understand that previous leaders of CASA have made commitments to complete the program under their watch - I would like to make the same commitment but for a number of good reasons I will not...
- Updating the rules is part of the ongoing process of improving aviation safety. Rules cannot remain static. As safety knowledge and understanding improves, the rules must evolve to reflect better safety practices and incorporate new technology. CASA seeks to align any new regulations as closely as practicable with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices, and to harmonise, where appropriate, with the standards of other leading aviation countries, unless differences are justified on safety risk grounds. In some technical areas, it is Australia that is well and truly in the lead.
- The Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) comprises 55 Parts. 44 CASR Parts have been made and 11 Operational Parts are outstanding, most of which have been legally drafted, and consulted.
- In June this year, we have released a detailed timetable for the completion of the aviation regulatory reform program. The new timetable has been developed after extensive consultation with aviation representative groups and individuals from all sectors of the aviation community and, carefully takes into account the aviation community’s capacity to implement and adjust to regulatory changes.
- The timetable covers 20 regulatory change projects to be completed over the next three years. These include the general operating rules, air transport operations, aerial work, continuing airworthiness and maintenance for small aircraft, small aircraft maintenance licensing, sport and recreational operations and unmanned aircraft. The timetable also covers new regulations already introduced and still in transition, such as flight crew licensing.
- We have allowed plenty of time for consultation on the development of new regulations so we can listen to feedback and respond to the views of the aviation community.
- Importantly, we have taken into account CASA’s ability to provide information, support and guidance on the introduction of new regulations, we have learnt from past mistakes made during the development and introduction of regulatory changes such as the flight crew licensing suite.
- Consultation processes are being improved, regulations will be tested with the aviation community before introduction and information will be presented clearly and provided consistently. I understand that this is where we have failed miserably in the past.
- When this program is complete, there will be new modern regulations covering operations, flight crew licensing and continuing airworthiness and maintenance, amongst other critical areas of activity.
- The challenge is that we must get the right safety outcomes without unintended consequences, unreasonable requirements or unnecessary costs to the industry. Looking back, we can see times when the pendulum has swung both ways, possibly too far at times. I see my role as making sure the CASA of today and into the future gets the balance right. An aviation safety regulator cannot take a ‘light’ approach to safety, nor can we overburden the aviation community with regulatory red tape.
- It is not an easy balance to strike, yet that is our job.
Future challenges and our response
- The aviation industry is increasingly dynamic and in the next 15 years, and beyond, it will be subject to a broad range of variables having a profound effect on the operating and regulatory environments CASA oversees.
- Key challenges will include an increase in the mix of manned and remotely piloted aircraft, increasing numbers of aviation participants in the sports and recreational aviation, and changes in the type and scope of aviation activities from technological innovations.
- The pace of technological evolution is likely to accelerate with disruptive technologies such as 3-D printing, remotely piloted or autonomous aircraft, mind-control cockpits, and others previously unimagined, creating challenges for their safe regulation.
- The volume of aircraft movements through capital cities is likely to double, and the national airspace system will need to manage these increased aircraft movements safely and efficiently.
- The shift to performance-based navigation and the implementation of OneSKY to integrate civil and military aviation is likely to improve flight efficiency and reduce costs; however it will need to meet a range of sometimes competing community and user expectations, and to support equitable airspace access for manned and unmanned aircraft alike.
- To meet these challenges, CASA needs to shift to a performance-based regulatory framework, using a risk-informed approach to regulating aviation safety. In this performance-based regulatory framework, data will be a key enabler for evidence-based regulatory decisions. To make such data-driven decisions effectively, we need to form safety partnerships and collaborate with the Australian aviation community, as well as regional and international aviation authorities, so that we can exchange information to identify fit-for-purpose regulatory changes which better manage more complex safety risks.
- To develop and maintain these safety partnerships, CASA must focus strongly on managing its relationships with members of the aviation community more effectively, investing resources to maintain open and responsive communication, using appropriate technologies and meeting reasonable client service expectations. Such client-focused relationships have the potential to increase levels of voluntary compliance, provide early warning of emerging compliance challenges and deliver better designed regulatory responses to non-compliance issues.
- The benefit of this future vision will be enhanced confidence in air travel, a continued international reputation for aviation safety, the trust of the aviation community, more efficient exchanges of safety data, the adoption of a rational and proportionate approach regulation and, most importantly, improved safety. Right now we are exploring more along these lines and articulating our latest thinking with my leadership team.
- On that note - I thank you for your attention and your participation at this important conference. I’ll be around for next two days if you want to exchange any views or ideas.
- For CASA PNG - I commend you on your continued dedication to provide this important forum to industry. I believe, together we can all work to maintain and improve aviation safety—our shared goal—our shared commitment.
- Thank you