• Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Regulation review started in 1988, but still has no end in sight.
    Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Regulation review started in 1988, but still has no end in sight.

The Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA) has accused CASA of lacking the expertise needed to adopt International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.

AMROBA Executive Director Ken Cannane questioned CASA's skill's base in a paper titled Harmonisation published on the association's website.

Cannane points out that when Australia began the aviation regulatory reform process in 1988, the then CAA elected to re-write regulations rather than adopt existing ICAO standards.

According to Cannane, as a signatory to the Chicago Convention of 1947, Australia is obliged to adopt ICAO standards, which would have seen the reform process completed years ago.

"A government department or agency that spends over 20 year reforming regulations and standards, which only need to be adopted, demonstrates why industry has lost trust and respect for CASA. It is obvious that CASA does not have the expertise and direction to adopt international standards.

"The only way to regain that trust and respect is to totally re-write the Civil Aviation Act so that CASA can only adopt international standards and any proposal to lodge a difference will require consensus from government and the aviation industry."

Cannane states that the CAA used a practice of simply using the US FAA's model of adopting ICAO standards, but now CASA is leaning more toward the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.

"In the last decade less experienced regulators in CASA decided the immature, complex EASA system, which virtually does not have a general aviation sector like Australia, had more benefits for bureaucracy than industry and consumers. This ill-conceived choice was rejected in many submissions to the ASRR [Aviation Safety Regulation Review]."

In its December 2014 response to the ASRR, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development stated that adopting ICAO standards for general aviation was more difficult than it was for airline transport.

"Australia supports the adoption of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) and best practice regulatory approaches used by other leading aviation safety authorities," the response paper stated.

"It is acknowledged that this is easier to achieve with international and domestic aviation passenger and freight operations than it is with other types of operations such as aerial work and general aviation, where there is less consistency in international approaches and less specific international guidance, or where international practice does not meet Australia’s circumstances."

Australia's reform program has been going now for 28 years. By contrast, the NZ CAA completed their reform in only five years.


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