Badly needed reforms to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have taken a “critical first step” with the appointment of three new directors to the board, an aviation industry group says.
Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA) chief executive Phil Hurst says the addition of Anita Taylor, Ian Smith and Murray Warfield to what will be a seven-member CASA board, as well as the government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review (ASRR), represents “a very welcome turning of the page for aviation policy”.
Hurst says the government’s commitment to issue a new statement of expectations to CASA as part of its response to the ASRR written by former Airservices chairman David Forsyth, where it will accept 32 of the report’s 37 recommendations, is also a welcome move.
“The announcement today of three new board members – all with aviation experience – is another strong downpayment on improving CASA governance and creating a better relationship with industry,” Hurst said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The government’s detailed response to the Forsyth review is also a very positive statement of intent to both reset the CASA/industry relationship and to bring CASA up to speed as a regulator we can be proud of.
“Industry desperately wants meaningful change in its interactions with CASA – including improvements in response to issues such as regulatory reform, AOC issuing and amendment timeframes, licencing and reductions in costs.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss handed down the government’s response to the ASRR on Wednesday.
Truss told parliament it was time to “reset the relationship between industry and agencies and move onwards, recognising our strong aviation safety record and the potential improvements that can be made in line with the report’s recommendations”.
“Successful implementation of these recommendations will need the active and constructive participation of our aviation industry, working openly and positively with our agencies,” Truss said in a statement to parliament.
As part of its response, the government said it would accept recommendations that called on CASA to fully disclose all findings from audits at audit exit briefings.
The Australian Airports Association (AAA) said this was a positive reform, given it would ensure airports were immediately altered to any potential safety issues and were able to respond quickly, rather than having to wait weeks or months for the formal results of the audit.
Also, AAA chief executive Caroline Wilkie said the association supported the government’s request that the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development provide further policy advice on airspace protection arrangements for Australian airports.
“Airspace protection is a critical issue for Australian airports, both large and small, and vital for the future growth of Australian aviation,” Wilkie said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Implementation of the government’s response to the recommendations should assist in strengthening the relationship, communications and engagement between the regulator and industry, which will help to deliver even stronger outcomes for aviation safety in Australia.”
The government’s full response can be found here.