Part 1 CASA's Environment
Our Minister and portfolio
As an independent statutory authority within the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio, CASA is accountable to the Commonwealth Parliament through the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (see Figure 1.6).
CASA, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (which includes the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Office of Transport Security) and Airservices Australia form a tripartite aviation safety structure. Each has separate and distinct functions, but the three organisations work together as an integrated system.
Department of Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
independent investigator of accidents and incidents
Office of Transport Security
aviation security, including regional aviation
|Policy and governance oversight of CASA and Airservices Australia|
|Policy management of aviation environment|
|Policy advice on the industry|
|Oversight of leased federal airports|
safety regulator of airports, aircraft, airspace, air operators and personnel
service provider of air traffic management and fire fighting services
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
search and rescue including aviation
Until the federal election on 24 November 2007, the portfolio was known as the Transport and Regional Services portfolio, with its Minister the Hon Mark Vaile, MP Following the election, the portfolio was changed to its present name and the Hon. Anthony Albanese, MP, was appointed Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
CASA was established on 6 July 1995 as an independent statutory authority by an amendment to the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act).
Under section 9 of the Act, CASA’s primary function is to regulate the safety of civil air operations in Australia and the operation of Australian aircraft overseas. CASA’s other functions include providing comprehensive safety education and training programs, working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and administering certain features of the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959, in particular ensuring that operators hold insurance that complies with that Act.
The Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CARs) and the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASRs), made under the authority of the Act, provide for general regulatory controls for the safety of air navigation. The Act and CARs empower CASA to issue Civil Aviation Orders on detailed regulatory matters. The CASRs empower CASA to issue manuals of standards providing detailed technical information that support the CARs.
CASA is progressively combining and updating the requirements currently set out in the CARs and Civil Aviation Orders into the new CASRs under its regulatory reform program.
Section 9A of the Act requires CASA to regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its functions.
The Airspace Act 2007 (the Airspace Act) and Airspace (Consequentials and Other Measures) Act 2007 gave CASA the power to regulate and administer Australia’s airspace from 1 July 2007. This is a new authority and responsibility for CASA.
The Airspace Regulations 2007 were developed to enable CASA to perform the functions and exercise the powers needed to administer and regulate Australian-administered airspace in accordance with the Airspace Act. The Airspace Regulations include provisions for classifying and designating airspace to determine the level of air traffic service that can be provided in individual volumes of airspace, and to restrict access to particular volumes as necessary. They also include details about the timing of reviews of decisions made by the airspace regulator, and how such reviews are to be conducted.
The following legislation also affects CASA’s exercise of powers and performance of functions:
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975
- Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977
- Air Navigation Act 1920
- Air Navigation Regulations 1947
- Air Services Act 1995
- Air Services Regulations 1995
- Airports Act 1996
- Auditor-General Act 1997
- Aviation Transport Security Act 2004
- Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005
- Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997
- Criminal Code Act 1976
- Freedom of Information Act 1982
- Legislative Instruments Act 2003
- Ombudsman Act 1976
- Privacy Act 1988
- Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.
CASA’s operating environment comprises over 42,000 licensed industry personnel (including pilots, licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers); over 13,000 registered aircraft; around 840 general aviation operators; more than 40 airline operators; over 700 maintenance organisations; more than 170 certified aerodromes and more than 130 registered aerodromes; and 26 air traffic control (ATC) facilities including major ATC centres in Brisbane and Melbourne.
CASA also conducts surveillance on over 70 foreign operators and oversees ten self-administering organisations.
This means that CASA operational staff are constantly engaged with all sectors of industry, not only carrying out our core safety regulatory responsibilities, including audit and surveillance, but also responding to requests for information and assistance and providing education and training.
The aviation industry in Australia is dynamic and increasingly complex, involving:
- the introduction of new domestic and international carriers
- the introduction of new aircraft types (such as Embraer jets and Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft) and the investment in new models, such as corporate jets and new-generation helicopters
- an ageing Australian aircraft fleet
- a growing self-administration sector
- an increasing number of aircraft on the Australian aircraft register
- an increase in airport movement statistics at key airports
- a shortage of suitably qualified and experienced personnel, i.e. pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and air traffic controllers
- an increase in activity in the flying training industry, particularly the establishment of numerous foreign airline training schools in Australia.
Australia’s domestic and international airlines have continued to show resilience through steady growth in the past decade, with market share becoming more competitive for established and new-generation airlines.
In 1986–87, when Australia’s domestic airline industry operated under the regulated ‘two airline policy’, 36.7 million passengers passed through Australia’s airports. In 2006–07, that figure had grown to 112.8 million passengers, an average annual growth rate of 5.8 per cent.
Patterns of air transport are changing, with the emergence of low-cost carriers, larger aircraft, regional jets and a range of new point-to-point services driving further growth in the industry.
CASA’s ongoing challenge is to keep pace with the dynamic nature of the industry and its associated technologies, in order to deliver on our commitment to ensuring Safe skies for all. As the industry has evolved, so too has CASA. The year 2007–08 brings to fruition a period of uncompromising reform, delivering ‘the new CASA’—a more industry-facing organisation with a clear focus on risk-based safety outcomes.