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Industry launches GA rescue plan

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 12, 2010

GA aircraft at Coolangatta. (Paul Sadler)

Five aviation industry associations have launched a 10 point plan which is aimed at providing solutions for political parties to help the ailing general aviation industry.

The plan has been assembled by the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA), the Aerial Agriculture Association of Australia (AAAA) and the Aviation MRO Association (AMROBA), with the support of the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs (RFACA) and the Overnight Airfreight Operators Association (OAOA). The associations say that GA has been ignored by government policy makers who have failed to deliver vision for the sector.

The 10 points listed are:

  • Government must engage better with industry by establishing a ministerial forum with leading industry associations.
  • Aviation is vital infrastructure and should be given a higher policy and funding priority, both through tax reform and government programs.
  • The aviation skills shortage should be addressed through the introduction of HECS for pilots and engineers.
  • Government must consider increased support for local GA airports that are struggling to keep up with increasing costs of maintenance and compliance and threats from developers.
  • Security requirements for GA aircraft and pilots should be simplified to be in line with US practice.
  • CASA’s Act must be changed to include fostering and promoting aviation.
  • CASA should be directed to establish a high level joint taskforce to work with industry on improving efficiency and effectiveness and reducing cost.
  • CASA should be directed by government to substantially simplify and reduce its regulatory burden on GA, especially in the areas of drug and alcohol management plans, reporting, AOC/entry control, and through regulatory reform.
  • CASA should be directed by government to work cooperatively with industry associations to develop recognised Codes of Practice that will support aviation safety while reducing compliance costs, in line with ICAO recommended practice.
  • CASA should be directed to abandon its current European based approach to regulatory reform for GA, especially maintenance regulation, and adopt a model based on the US FAA system of simple regulations for simple operations.

“GA is not pleading for special treatment, but is asking for a coherent policy with the growth of GA at its heart, smart and efficient regulation commensurate with risk and a partnership with government based on transparency and the national interest,” the five groups said in a jointly issued statement released on August 12.

The new 10 point plan comes after the then Rudd government late last year launched its highly anticipated Aviation White Paper, which was to have provided a major framework for the aviation industry. However, there was overwhelming disappointment from many in the industry to the White Paper, who criticised it for being shortsighted and containing few new policies to foster the growth of the aviation industry and GA in particular.

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