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Aviation Safety Regulation Review

Media Release

WT028/2013

14 November 2013

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today announced an independent review of aviation safety regulation in Australia.

“This announcement delivers on one of the key commitments outlined in the Coalition's 2013 Policy for Aviation,” Mr Truss said.

“Australia has an enviable record in aviation safety—among the best in the world—which has been built on a strong regulatory system, forged over many years.”

In launching the review, Mr Truss said aviation activity is expected to double in the next twenty years. The industry is a vital part of our economy and we must ensure it is supported by a regulatory system that delivers the highest levels of safety.

“Now is the right time to reassess how our safety regulatory system is placed in dealing with this dynamic and evolving sector. The independent review reinforces the Government's commitment to maintaining safety as the highest priority in aviation.

“The review will be strategic in nature. It is about whether we are on the right track to meet future challenges and respond to growing demand in aviation.”

The review is to be undertaken by a panel of leading aviation safety experts and will benchmark Australia's safety regulation against other leading countries.

Mr David Forsyth AM, will Chair the review panel. Mr Forsyth is a prominent figure in Australian aviation. He is the chair of Safeskies Australia, former chair of Airservices Australia and has over 30 years of experience in safety management and aviation business.

Mr Forsyth will be joined by Mr Don Spruston, former Director General of Civil Aviation at Transport Canada and former Director General of the International Business Aviation Council, and by Mr Roger Whitefield, former Head of Safety at British Airways, former safety adviser to Qantas and former United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority board member.

The panel will also be supported, as required, by specialist advisers. Mr Truss has appointed Phillip Reiss to take particular responsibility to ensure that the concerns of general aviation and regional operators are well aired.

Mr Truss indicated his confidence that the breadth and depth of expertise secured to conduct this review will ensure that a comprehensive and balanced perspective is reflected in the panel's findings.

Over the coming months, the review panel will undertake extensive industry and public consultation. Further details, including how to make a submission, will be available from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development's website at: www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/asrr

The review panel will provide its report to the Deputy Prime Minister in May 2014.

The Terms of Reference for the review and information about the review panel members follow at Attachments A and B.

Attachment A

Aviation Safety Regulation Review
Terms of Reference

Objectives

The principal objectives of the review are to investigate:

  • the structures, effectiveness and processes of all agencies involved in aviation safety;
  • the relationship and interaction of those agencies with each other, as well as with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (Infrastructure);
  • the outcomes and direction of the regulatory reform process being undertaken by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA);
  • the suitability of Australia's aviation safety related regulations when benchmarked against comparable overseas jurisdictions; and
  • any other safety related matters.

Outcomes

The report of the review will:

  • examine and make recommendations as required on the aviation safety roles of CASA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and other agencies as appropriate;
  • outline and identify any areas for improvement in the current interaction and relationships between CASA and the ATSB, as well as other agencies and Infrastructure;
  • examine and make recommendations as required on the appointment process and criteria applied for key aviation safety roles within CASA and the ATSB;
  • examine the current processes by which CASA develops, consults on and finalises changes to aviation safety regulations and other legislative instruments (such as civil aviation orders) and make any proposals for improving these processes such that new regulations are best practice in safe operations for each relevant sector of the aviation industry;
  • review the implementation of the current aviation safety regulatory reform programme and assess the effectiveness of the planning and implementation of regulatory changes, including cost impacts on industry;
  • examine and make recommendations on options for improving future aviation safety regulatory reform having regard to international experience and stakeholder views, and the Government's objective of reducing the cost of regulation to business;
  • provide advice to Government on priorities for future regulatory development and implementation strategies; and
  • provide advice to Government on options for improving oversight and enforcement of aviation regulations, including rights of review.

Consultation

The review will seek the views of the CASA Board and senior management and staff, and the ATSB Commission and senior management and staff in developing its advice to Government on the review's objectives, and consult closely with:

  • international, domestic, regional, general aviation, sport and recreational aircraft and maintenance operators and organisations;
  • federal, regional and local airport operators;
  • other relevant Government agencies including Infrastructure, Airservices Australia, the Department of Defence and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC); and
  • other industry and public stakeholders.

Background

Australia's aviation safety governance structures and processes have continued to evolve since the initial establishment of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (covering the operations of CASA), the Air Services Act 1995 (covering the operations of Airservices) and Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (covering the operations of the ATSB).

In addition the establishment of an Aviation Safety Regulatory Development Taskforce in March 2010, comprising dedicated resources from CASA and OPC, was specifically aimed at helping expedite the completion of the regulatory drafting work for an aviation safety regulatory reform programme.

The current regulatory reform programme involves completion of three main regulatory suites covering aircraft maintenance, aircraft operations and flight crew licensing.  The maintenance and licensing suites are largely completed with the operations suite scheduled to be completed next year.

The aviation industry and CASA are in the process of implementing the maintenance and licensing regulatory changes already made and in which significant investment in improved systems, training and education is completed or under way.

Work on updated regulations for areas affecting general aviation such as amendments to Civil Aviation Safety Regulations—Part 42 (Continuing Airworthiness—amendments for charter and aerial work), Part 132 (Limited Category Aircraft Operations—Warbirds), Part 138 (Aerial Work Operations) and for sport and recreational aviation (Parts 103, 105 and 149) are scheduled to be progressed in the next twelve months.

Earlier this year a Senate report into Aviation Accident Investigations highlighted a range of issues with the regulation and governance of aviation safety within Australia.

It is therefore timely to consider future aviation safety structures and regulatory development approaches and processes in Australia by evaluating the effectiveness of the current approach, looking at international experience and possible options for future improvements and bearing in mind the commitment of the Australian Government to reduce the burden of regulation on the economy.

It is also timely to look at which areas should be priorities for future regulatory development to meet continued growth in aviation demand. 

Review Membership and Timing

The review panel will comprise Mr David Forsyth (chair), Mr Don Spruston and Mr Roger Whitefield.  The panel will be assisted by a Secretariat established within Infrastructure, and will be supported as required by specialist advisers.

The review will report to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development in May 2014.

Attachment B

Aviation Safety Regulation Review—Panel Members

Mr David Forsyth AM (Australia)—Review Panel Chair

Mr Forsyth has extensive experience in aviation engineering and management.  A professional engineer and a Member of the Order of Australia, he has held executive and board positions across the industry, government, not-for-profit and academic sectors in Australia.

Mr Forsyth currently works as an independent consultant to the aviation industry and has served on a number of Boards, including as Chair of Airservices Australia, Chair of the Safeskies Conference, Vice President of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (SE Section) and President of the Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Division.  He previously worked for Qantas for over 30 years in technical and management roles including: Manager of the Melbourne Maintenance Base; General Manager, Regional Airlines; and Executive General Manager, Aircraft Operations.  

Mr Forsyth holds a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (Hons) and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering Developments from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and has completed the Stanford University Executive Program.  A Councillor of the Royal Aeronautical Society's Australian division since 2004, he is currently a Senior Visiting Fellow at the UNSW School of Aviation.

Mr Don Spruston (Canada)—Review Panel Member

Mr Spruston has wide-ranging experience in oversight and regulation of the aviation sector with the Canadian Government.  He has also been extensively involved in the development and implementation of criteria for reviewing aviation safety regulatory performance as part of the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP).

Formerly Director General of Civil Aviation at Transport Canada, Mr Spruston was until recently, the Director General of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) based in ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada.  He has previously held senior positions with Transport Canada including Director General of Aircraft Services, and Regional Director of Air Navigation Services in the Pacific Region. 

Mr Spruston holds a Bachelor of Science from the Royal Military College of Canada and has an Airline Transport Pilot Licence. 

Mr Roger Whitefield (United Kingdom)—Review Panel Member

Mr Whitefield has held senior positions in both regulatory and operational roles within the aviation industry—he was previously a commercial pilot for over 30 years.  For the past 10 years he has been a board member of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) during a period of significant structural and governance reform of the Authority.

He is a member of the International Safety Review Team which most recently conducted an independent safety review of Air France following their loss of an A330 aircraft.  He is also Chair of Air Safety Support International (a UK Government company charged with helping deliver aviation safety oversight for British overseas territories).  A Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Mr Whitefield spent a number of years as an external advisor to the Qantas Safety Review Board.

Mr Whitefield has had 39 years' experience working for UK airlines as a pilot, airline captain and in executive roles, including as Head of Safety and Head of Corporate Safety and Quality with British Airways.