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.