Aviation forum’s manifesto seeks urgent action

Paul Phelan, Oct 9, 2015

After a two-day conference The Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF), representing an influential group of peak aviation bodies, has released a communiqué expressing “considerable concern” at the slow pace of reform of CASA and the ongoing cost impositions from new regulations.
The communiqué urged the CASA Board to persevere with its clear, government-mandated cultural change agenda, saying it believes the recently introduced CASA regulations are threatening the viability of industry and especially general aviation operations, where millions of dollars will otherwise be required to be invested for no commensurate safety gains.
The Forum says it fully supports CASA Director Mark Skidmore’s Directive 01/2015 which launched the development and application of risk based and cost effective aviation safety regulation, and asked that it be applied to all of the recently introduced CASA regulations.
However TAAAF says it believes effective implementation of the directive will require “cultural change” within CASA and encouraged the CASA Board to persevere with its clear, Government- mandated cultural change agenda.
“The TAAAF recommends the CASA redouble efforts to urgently:

  • “Abolish Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1 – industry rejects the limited science it is based on, the ignoring of decades of safe operations, the massive costs it will impose and the complexity that will inevitably lead to non-compliance.
  • “Establish an industry task force to propose urgent exemptions and amendments to Parts 61, 141, 142 and revised transitional arrangements to allow the industry to function, especially for firefighting operations and ATPL licences.
  • “Reform Australian aviation manufacturing regulations to copy the modernised US Federal Aviation Agency system and undo the damage caused by the loss of three TAFE skill providers.
  • “Undo the damage caused by new maintenance training regulations that resulted in the loss of three TAFE skill providers.

“TAAAF believes that now is the time for definitive action before the new regulations cause irreparable long-term damage and the loss of jobs and businesses.”
The group’s sentiments are a haunting reminder of the findings and recommendations of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review Panel led by industry veteran David Forsyth, which delivered its damning report in May 2014.
The ASRR warned that:
Although opinions differ, the Panel estimates that the [Regulatory Reform Program] will take at least another five years to complete. Furthermore, the final product of regulatory reform will not meet the aviation community’s needs and will not be consistent with the ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organisation] principles for plain language, easily understood, safety rules. Nor will the final regulations be harmonised with those of any foreign jurisdiction.
The 25-plus year history of regulatory reform has been consuming the industry, and distracting the aviation community from the objective of managing safety in its operations. On this basis, the Panel concludes that continuing along the current path is not in the interests of aviation safety in Australia and that a new approach must be developed for regulatory reform.
The ASRR Panel had also warned that “While trusted by many in government, the industry’s trust in CASA is failing, compromising CASA’s Stewardship, and industry perceives CASA’s Accountability as being compromised.”(The Panel’s highlighting.)
Elsewhere in the report the Panel also observed:
“CASA and industry need to build an effective collaborative relationship on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. Therefore, CASA needs to set a new strategic direction.”
CASA has more recently begun engaging with alarmed industry groups and these contacts appear to have alerted Mr Skidmore and others that the trust issue was becoming more and more central to developing a lasting solution.
On September 16, the Director finally published a new statement titled CASA’s new regulatory policy – a ten-point outline of intended reform, which bears at least the potential to begin reversing the distrust that had now been growing insidiously for a quarter of a century.

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About Paul Phelan

Paul Phelan flew for over 50 years in private, charter, corporate and regional aviation, worked in senior management roles with a major regional airline, and retains his license. In parallel he has been writing for Australian and international aviation journals for well over 20 years on all aspects of aviation including aircraft evaluation, flying, industry affairs, infrastructure, manufacture, regulatory affairs, safety, technologies and training. He has won three separate National Aviation Press Club awards for "best technical aviation story of the year."

1 thought on “Aviation forum’s manifesto seeks urgent action

  1. Carmel

    A contest at the Texas A & M University once defined political correctness as:

    “Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a Turd by the clean end.”

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