Are changes to the Civil Aviation Act in the pipeline?

The new minister responsible for aviation says he won’t be rushed into changing the Civil Aviation Act. (Paul Sadler)

New Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack says he is considering proposed changes to the Civil Aviation Act put forward by Dick Smith.

McCormack told The Australian on Monday he had met with Smith regarding changes to general aviation regulations.

“While I understand Mr Smith’s passion on this matter, my job is to ensure policy changes are given the due consideration needed,” McCormack told the newspaper.

“I will take the time needed to consider options and to have further conversations with industry and my colleagues.

“You cannot rush policy outcomes, especially when it involves people’s safety. If changes are possible, they will be properly considered and broad consultation will be held before any decision is made.”

Smith has proposed changing the wording of the act which says the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has to “regard safety as the most important consideration” in its role regulating the industry.

Instead, CASA would be charged with ensuring the “highest level of safety in air navigation” in addition to having consideration for “an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry”.

The proposed changes were designed to support a general aviation sector which the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia (AOPA) has previously described as been slowly dying and “collapsing under the weight of regulation”.

Smith told The Australian doing nothing would lead to the “complete destruction of our once viable general aviation industry”.

The Australian reported Smith’s proposals had been agreed to by former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Barnaby Joyce, as well as his opposition counterpart Anthony Albanese.

However, Joyce resigned in February after it emerged he had separated from his wife and started a relationship with a former staffer.

Dick Smith has proposed reforms to general aviation sector.
Dick Smith fears the “complete destruction” of the general aviation sector.

Comments

  1. ian mcdonell says

    Australian politics –

    “When all is said and done, a lot will be said and nothing will be done”

  2. matty says

    I cant see how a change to the Civil Aviation Act will make any real change. It gives power to the regulations but how will regulations be changed to promote an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry? Bottom line is that flying aircraft is expensive because the aircraft themselves are expensive to operate and maintain, even without regulations in place. A better approach would be to reduce import costs on imported aircraft, at least those that do not pose competition to the scant few manufacturers we do have. Cost of fuel is the next big ticket item. If the charge per litre of avgas and avtur which goes into the coffers to keep CASA alive was exempted for GA operators, cost per hour would dramatically reduce, cost to learn would dramatically reduce and youngsters would have a better chance of giving aviation a go rather than standing on the sidelines wishing it was affordable.

  3. Dave says

    My guess is Dick Smith wants to stop all these foreign airlines overpopulating our cities/airports!

    We need to do better than listen to this old has-been and look to the future, that’s the reason we should look at the Act.

  4. Pete says

    Dick Smith is not all that old, nor is he a “has been”. Dick has done a tremendous amount of work over many years striving for the survival of GA. Changing the wording of the regs is a first step to then changing the culture of the government & the authority away from the “Safety at all cost” mentality that now prevails, to one of “Affordable safety”, where such things, for example, as the impact of a reg on the viability of operations is considered.
    I personally have seen GA wither from the booming, very viable industry of the 1960’s to the pathetic shell that now exists. Yes, aircraft are expensive to purchase & operate, and yes, fuel is expensive: so is everything else compared to say, 1965.
    GA has been slowly & deliberately destroyed by the ignorance of unsympathetic governments of all political persuasions, coupled with a regulator that has been neither properly constructed nor controlled by government. The train wreck that is CASR Part 61 is a result of such actions.
    Keep up the good work Dick!