The Civil Aviation Safety Authority holds too much power, creates too much red tape and sets unreasonable standards for small operators, a new Senate inquiry has been told.
Although only a few submissions have been made to the inquiry into the current state of general aviation of Australia, many more are expected with no set deadline in place.
As chairman of the Senate committee on rural and regional affairs and transport, Senator Susan McDonald launched the inquiry to examine whether additional red tape imposed on general aviation had actually improved safety.
A detailed submission from experienced flying instructor and retired engineer John Hoore said that in a democratic society it was quite unreasonable for one organisation (CASA) to have such extensive powers.
“CASA is, effectively, the legislator , the judge, the jury and the executioner,” Mr Hoore wrote.
“This situation does not exist in other industries.
“For example, organisations that develop the set of standards for driving a car or truck issue licences , but they do not have the responsibility for policing the rules, determining guilt and issuing penalties.”
He said this enormous power imbalance was one of the reasons those in the GA industry were often so critical of CASA.
Mr Hoore also took aim at the “overly bureaucratic and inflexible” approach to the delivery of flying training.
As an example, he said there were 120 pages of records to be completed for a recreational pilot licence, which only involved 30 hours of flying.
“Following one lesson, the instructor is required to report on 217 individual elements of the flight,” said Mr Hoore.
“This means that one element has to be assessed every 16 seconds of the flight, a task that is impossible to do with any degree of accuracy.”
Mr Hoore recommended that the inquiry consider reallocating the responsibilities assigned to CASA to other organisations to ensure fairness for all participants .
“There is something seriously wrong when, in Australia, we have a climate that is so conducive for training pilots, yet we are forced to look overseas to recruit pilots and instructors to meet demand,” he said.
Another submission complained that the reform of civil aviation regulations had begun in the 1990s and was still not complete .
Flying instructor Jonathan Kelly wrote that the original intention was to have “a single set of clear, logically arranged, concise regulations” , in the form of the civil aviation safety regulations, and the civil aviation advisory publications.
Instead, the industry now had five separate sets of documents with which it must comply.
“The original two thick folders have multiplied to be a whole shelf of folders,” said Mr Kelly.
“The CASR alone now consist of five volumes and is approximately 1800 pages.”
CASA will make its own detailed submission to the inquiry in due course.
An interim report is expected from the committee by the end of the year, and the full report due by November 2021.
HAVE YOUR SAY: MAKE A SUBMISSION TO THE INQUIRY
AOPA Australia is encouraging all aircraft owners, pilots, aviation businesses and industry participants to make a formal submission to the Senate RRAT Inquiry into the State of Australia’s General Aviation Industry, clearly identifying how CASA regulation is impacting the success and sustainability of our industry.
Australia’s general aviation industry
Under Standing Order 25 (2) (a), the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee will inquire into and report on the current state of Australia’s general aviation industry, with particular reference to aviation in rural, regional and remote Australia.
The committee will consider the operation and effectiveness of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and other relevant aviation agencies, with particular reference to:
- the legislative and regulatory framework underpinning CASA’s aviation safety management functions, including:
- the application of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 to Australia’s aviation sector, and whether the legislation is fit for purpose;
- the safety and economic impacts, and relative risks, of CASA’s aviation safety frameworks; and
- the engagement of CASA with other relevant Australian Government agencies;
- 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;
- CASA’s processes and functions, including:
- its maintenance of an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including viable general aviation and training sectors;
- the efficacy of its engagement with the aviation sector, including via public consultation; and
- its ability to broaden accessibility to regional aviation across Australia, considering the associated benefits of an expanded aviation sector; and
- any related matters.
The committee will present its interim report on or before the final sitting day of December 2020, and will present its final report on or before the final sitting day of November 2021.
Committee Secretariat contact:
Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: +61 2 6277 3511
Fax: +61 2 6277 5811