• David Forsyth, Chairman of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR) board.
    David Forsyth, Chairman of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR) board.

David Forsyth, author of the 2014's Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR) report has come out in support of amending the Civil Aviation Act to force CASA to take into account economic factors.

The ASRR specifically avoided recommending changes to the Act despite receiving several submissions to do so.

Speaking to Australian Flying, Forsyth said that he felt moves to change the Act were now needed due to slow progess on reforms recommended in the ASRR.

"I am fully supportive of Dick Smith’s proposal to modify the Civil Aviation Act, and sincerely hope that it is successful," he said.

"During the ASRR, the panel specifically did not recommend a dual mandate, in part due to debate about dual mandates being unworkable as part of the Royal Commission into the Pikes River disaster in New Zealand, and issues arising from the Valujet accident in the USA.

"Countries like the UK and NZ which had dual mandates also had an aviation regulator who had a wider remit than CASA – the UK CAA also regulates commercial issues in aviation and NZ also covers security. 

"The panel also believed at the time, that with the right approach and a willing regulator, a better balance of sustainability and safety would be achieved. That belief proved to be misplaced, as for the two years after the ASRR, the regulator continued to demonstrate its unwillingness to change its culture or to take a more balanced approach. 

"Fortunately that has improved since Shane Carmody took up the DAS role. The ongoing concern, however, is that when Shane leaves CASA, it is likely that the old culture could return.

"That is why I agree with Dick that the Act needs to be changed, to ensure that the regulator does not hide behind the primacy of safety to the exclusion of everything else, including sustainability."

Dick Smith and the Australian General Aviation Alliance (AGAA) have come out strongly in favour of making the change, with AGAA organising a summit of associations in July to reach industry consensus on how the Act should be worded and what the intent should be.

Forsyth also said that any wording changes to the Act would need to be carefully chosen.


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