Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) says it is committed to reducing costs and stresses no existing fees will be increased under proposed changes to the way it charges for licensing and other regulatory services.
CASA issued a statement on Thursday responding to industry criticism published before Easter regarding its draft Cost Recovery Implementation Strategy (CRIS) consultation paper.
The regulator promised to undertake a full consultation on the proposed fee changes contained in the CRIS, with the comment period closing on April 23.
“CASA understands concerns within the aviation community about proposed changes to cost recovery for regulatory services and is committed to keeping the costs of aviation safety regulation as low as is possible at all times,” it said.
“The current proposals relate to the introduction of the new flight crew licensing suite of regulations – with many current fees simply being replaced by fees that apply under the new regulations. No existing fees will be increased.”
The Australian Aviation Associations’ Forum (TAAAF) said on April 2 it was “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” during these tough economic times.
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”.
CASA noted in the draft CRIS consultation paper it did not recover the full cost of providing regulatory services, adding those costs were continuing to increase.
“CASA will carefully review all comments on the proposed fee changes and seriously consider all suggestions for amendments or changes,” the regulator said on Thursday.
“CASA agrees with the aviation community that we must strive to be to be as efficient as possible at all times and seek to reduce costs where possible.”
The regulator estimated the cost of all chargeable activities would be $40.8 million in 2014/15, resulting in a deficit of $25.8 million given CASA traditionally recovered less than $15 million through fees.
The deficit was forecast to increase to $30 million by 2018/19 as costs rose due to “normal inflationary pressures”.