• Delegates to the 2018 AGAA summit form the recommendations and resolutions to be presented to the government. (Steve Hitchen)
    Delegates to the 2018 AGAA summit form the recommendations and resolutions to be presented to the government. (Steve Hitchen)

Delegates to the Australian General Aviation Alliance (AGAA) summit in Wagga Wagga this week have collaborated on a series of conclusions and recommendations that it wants to present to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack.

Following a series of presentations from various associations last Monday, AGAA delegates gathered on Tuesday to decide on wording for a call to action to be presented to minister Michael McCormack and shadow minister Anthony Albanese.

The conclusions reached were:

  1. general aviation wants to maintain or improve Australia’s aviation safety outcomes
  2. the general aviation sector is of vital importance to Australia especially regional and rural Australia not only in economic terms but in social and community service provision terms
  3. the general aviation sector, including the commercial elements of the sector, is overburdened with the complexity and cost flowing from the current Civil Aviation Act, regulations and other aviation legislation
  4. the current regulatory regime is based on a prescriptive approach to rules and compliance. World best practice is based on outcome-based regulation which Australia should implement immediately in accordance with DAS Directive 01/2015 and the Minister’s CASA Statement of Expectations
  5. the cost and complexity burdens placed on the general aviation sector are exacerbated by the actions of Airservices and airport operators, both privatised and local government owned, by further cost impositions, operational restrictions and inappropriate infrastructure development
  6. the Australian economy has the opportunity to benefit from pilot and engineering training, aircraft and component maintenance and construction services flowing from the world-wide expansion of air travel and aviation activity – especially in Asia. To achieve this, we must be able to respond effectively and be liberated from over regulation
  7. the attitude must be to adopt best regulatory practices in parallel with embracing safety and economic benefits of new technologies in Australian aircraft and operations. This will allow Australia to achieve its potential as an aviation leader, aviation service provider and exporter.

The summit also agreed on a series of resolutions to further the campaign for a reform of the general aviation sector and an easing of the regulatory burden that they believe will lead to industry growth. The resolutions are:

  • provide a statement of value of the GA sector in Australia
  • provide a statement of opportunity for the GA sector in Australia
  • recommend the Civil Aviation Act and other aviation legislation is reviewed and amended to ensure outcome-based regulation is implemented during the first term of the next government
  • recommend a small number of amendments to the Civil Aviation Act to immediately re-focus to a less prescriptive and holistic approach to regulation to be passed through parliament before the next election
  • recommend establishment of an Office of Aviation Industry in the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to engage and assist industry to foster and develop aviation both domestically and internationally
  • recommend prioritising and implementing a programme to identify a number of advances in aviation safety and amenity that can be made within the current regulations and responsibilities and make changes within defined time frames.

Both McCormack and Albanese had previously said that they welcomed the opportunity to consider the outcomes of the summit.

Changes to the Civil Aviation Act as Resolved by the AGAA Summit Delegates.

Whereas the current regulatory stance adopted by CASA is out of step with contemporary regulatory practice, as adopted by The International Civil Aviation Organization through the promulgation of Annex 19, Safety Management Systems, and is contributing to the rapid decline of Australia’s general aviation industry, and

Whereas the World is facing a growing shortage of skilled aviation personnel and Australia has the opportunity to contribute to the training of these personnel in a way that can improve safety, the Aviation Summit finds that elements of the current Civil Aviation Act are not fit for purpose.

Specifically, S9A, Performance of Functions, imposes upon CASA a limitation that impedes the development of performance-based regulation and the safety benefits that would otherwise be achieved. S9A (1) requires that, in exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration and there is an urgent need to address this anomaly.

The Aviation Summit supports a review of the Civil Aviation Act, to include as a minimum, a repeal of S9A (1) and a replacement with the following language:

9A Performance of functions

(1) In exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must seek to achieve the highest level of safety in air navigation as well as:

(a) maintaining an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including a viable general aviation and training sector;

(b) the need for more people to benefit from civil aviation.

The Summit delegates support the need to amend, as soon as possible, the Object of the Civil Aviation Act and other aviation related Acts, without reducing the primacy of safety, to include an amended Object to support a sustainable and viable aviation industry;

The main objective of the Act is to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents;

In addition to this, the objects must include;

i. a strong, efficient and sustainable aviation industry;
ii. enabling more people to benefit from aviation; and
iii. emphasis on substantially reducing the administrative and financial burden of regulatory compliance.
(Note: the final wording will be decided between both the Minister and Shadow Minister.

The summit delegates also support the inclusion of government’s Red Tape Policy to be permanently inserted in Section 98.


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