The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (RRAT) will conduct a two-year inquiry into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to gauge the effectiveness of regulation it has applied to general aviation in the past 10 years.
RRAT Chair, Nationals Senator Susan McDonald from Queensland, is believed to be set to make a formal announcement in the next day or so.
Senator McDonald said the aim of the inquiry is to establish how regulation imposed on GA had achieved CASA’s stated aim of balancing safety, relative risk, and economic costs.
“[the inquiry] will look at the social and economic impacts of CASA decisions on charter businesses, helicopter mustering, agricultural operations and maintenance operators across regional, rural and remote Australia,” she said.
“We want to examine the relevance of the Civil Aviation Act in relation to maintaining the highest safety standards while encouraging general aviation and training.
“I have spoken with participants in the general aviation industry who feel the past 10 years of rulemaking by CASA has not achieved the stated aim of balance.
“This inquiry will look at people’s concerns with CASA and deliver interim findings in December 2020, followed by a final report in November 2021.”
Senator McDonald has established herself as a champion of aviation in Australia, most famously crossing the floor to vote with independent senators on the Community Service Flight legislation disallowance motion in October. McDonald was the only coalition member to do so. She was elected to the Senate for QLD in the 2019 Federal Election and made RRAT Chair in July.
At the time of writing, the inquiry had not been listed on the RRAT website, so information on public hearings and submission is not yet available.
Inquiry Terms of Reference
1. That the Senate establishes an inquiry into and report on the current state of Australia’s general aviation industry, including the operation and effectiveness of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and other agencies, with particular reference to:
a) balancing safety, relative risk and economic impacts in developing and promulgating aviation safety standards, particularly in the context of regional, rural and remote aviation, including:
i. the legislative and regulatory framework underpinning CASA’s aviation safety management regulation and operation
ii. Government functions in providing advice to relevant agencies, which addresses safety, relative risk and economic factors
iii. public consultation processes.
b) The immediate and long-term social and economic impacts of CASA decisions on small businesses, agricultural operations and individuals across regional, rural and remote Australia.
c) The relevance of the Civil Aviation Act 1988, with particular reference to:
i. maintaining the highest level of safety in air navigation that is balanced with maintaining an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including a viable general aviation and training sector
ii. The need for more people to benefit from civil aviation
d) What additional factors could be incorporated by CASA in making decisions, including increasing connectivity across regional, rural and remote Australia.
e) Any other related matter.
2. That the committee present its interim report on or before the final sitting day of December 2020.
3. That the committee present its final report on or before the final sitting day of November 2021