Support for a change to the Civil Aviation Act is growing rapidly ahead of next week's Australian General Aviation Alliance (AGAA) summit in Wagga Wagga.
Industry associations are working together to try to have the Civil Aviation Act 1988 changed to remove safety as the primary consideration and force the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to take into account the economic impact of regulation.
In a summit update released on 2 July, AGAA said that 34 associations representing 26,500 members had confirmed they would attend the summit next Monday and Tuesday.
The associations will be asked to evaluate new wording for the Act, which has been proposed to include:
In exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must seek to achieve the highest level of safety in air navigation as well as:
- maintaining an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including a viable general aviation and training sector
- the need for more people to benefit from civil aviation.
Most of the attending associations have indicated broad support for change in position papers submitted to AGAA, citing many factors from a flagging training industry to costs imposed by heavy regulation.
The International Comanche Society of Australasia (ICS) says a change to the Act is needed to spur growth in the general aviation industry.
"The ICS supports a change to the Civil Aviation Act as a first step to rejuvenating our industry. We believe that regulatory costs and complexity have made it difficult for the private owner. We also believe that these same problems are affecting our maintenance and avionics organisations and a further demise in this sector will adversely affect all aircraft owners. The ICS also sees adverse effects occurring in the flying training sector.
The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) said in their position paper: "For Australian aviation to prosper in today’s world it requires the industry and the government to work together towards identifying opportunities to grow and for the regulator to be an active participant in assisting industry to access those opportunities.The current act has no provision for this."
"The level of over regulation and complexity has a devastating impact on private aviation participation," says the Cirrus Owner Pilots Association (COPA). "The Cessna SIDS and ADS-B mandates are examples. There was no safety case for SIDS, and the ADS-B mandate should have applied to all aircraft but not until two years after the USA. The non-TSO local options should have been approved for use below 18,000 ft."
Several associations, including Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) and the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) have indicated in-principle support, but reserved their position until the proposed changes are clearer.
"RAAus is supportive of constructive, realistic strategies," RAAus said, "however, without understanding the detail of the proposed changes we are not willing to commit to a position."
As well as the associations, several members of parliament and general aviation influencers are slated to attend, including Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormick, Shadow Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese, Mayor of Wagga Wagga Greg Conkey, International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Secretary General Craig Spence and Senate Standing Committee on Regional and Rural Affairs and Transport (RRAT) secretary Jane Thompson.
The summit will run over two days from 9-10 July and will be chaired by former REX Managing Director Geoff Breust.