The Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum (TAAAF) has come out against a raft of new charges being proposed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
CASA’s draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), released recently, indicated the aviation safety regulator was considering introducing a number of new fees as part of regulatory changes including Part 61, which covered licensing requirements.
The Statement, which is open for consultation, said CASA was not proposing any increase to existing fees or any raising of its hourly rates for services, which currently range from $100, $130, $160 to $190 per hour depending on the level of expertise required and the type of service.
The CRIS noted that CASA’s costs to provide aviation regulatory services was continuing to increase and it historically has only recovered less than $15 million of the cost of providing those services through fees.
“Whilst CASA has continued to review its operations and streamline them wherever possible the shortfall in the funding of the aviation regulatory services has continued to increase and is expected to continue to do so under the current arrangements,” the CRIS said.
“In 2014/15, it is forecast that the cost of chargeable activities will be $40.8 million, resulting in a deficit of $25.8 million.
“As these costs increase in future years, as a result of normal inflationary pressures, the deficit is forecast to increase to $30 million in 2018/19.”
TAAAF, which brings together the peak bodies of the aviation sector in Australia under one banner, called on CASA to “tighten its belt, become more efficient and review those of its activities that contribute little to aviation safety”.
“At a time when many aviation industry sectors are suffering a significant economic downturn due to the end of the mining boom, drought in two States and a multi-decade general decline in activity, all parts of the industry have had to tighten their belts and CASA’s regulatory services should not be immune,” TAAAF said in a statement on Thursday.
“In this environment it is not appropriate for CASA to propose some 90 new charges related to the bungled new Part 61 for pilot licensing, and to maintain complex bureaucratic systems that fail to deliver efficiency.
“Industry has concerns about the lack of urgency in reform and denial of the Forsyth report criticisms by a cohort of long term managers within CASA.”
TAAAF called on Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss to reject the draft CRIS and include in his yet-to-be-delivered Letter of Expectations to CASA a directive for the regulator to “focus on cost reduction before more cost recovery”.
It also called for the creation of a joint industry/CASA taskforce to “review all charges and the efficiency of the systems behind them, with a view to eliminating activities and their accompanying charges where they make no contribution to safety”.
CASA said in the draft CRIS the increased deficit in cost recovered activities would be managed through the use of other funding streams.
Moreover, it forecast that the revised cost recovery arrangements would be revenue neutral.
“Increases in revenue and expenditure from the new fee items are expected to be offset by a corresponding reduction in the revenue and expenditure in connection with the existing fees,” the statement said.