CASA change too little and too slow

The Aerial Application Association of Australia is calling on all political parties to commit to major change to Australia’s aviation regulator to fix ongoing problems that are damaging productivity and fuelling uncertainty.

The AAAA represents over 90% of air operators engaged in cover crop spraying, fertilising, sowing, locust and mouse plague control, fire bombing and oil spill management – to name only a few.

Phil Hurst, CEO of AAAA said in Canberra today, ‘Two years after the damning Forsyth Report, we do not appear to be materially closer to large scale and tangible relief from the problems identified’, ‘Despite enormous goodwill and support from industry over that time, the lack of  CASA output across a wide range of issues is deeply troubling and will continue to handicap Australia’s ability to take advantage of the predicted significant international upturn in aviation demand.

‘Of particular concern is the apparent rejection of a partnership approach identified by Forsyth as key to improving safety.

‘Alignment between the Minister, the CASA Board, senior management and staff is critical to culture and behavior change and this is clearly a significant hurdle continuing to dog CASA.  This is also another reason for a review of the Civil Aviation Act – the first in nearly 30 years.

‘The new Minister and the existing CASA Board will certainly have the full support of the industry in tackling the highly resistant CASA culture of ‘we know better than industry’.

‘Whoever the new Minister is after the election, they will have a massive task still ahead of them which may require further personnel changes if reform cannot be delivered rapidly – something supported by an industry focussed on outcomes, not talk.

‘CASA is still out of step with comparable international regulators which is costing Australia jobs, exports and productivity.

‘The lack of urgency in undoing legacy regulations that even CASA agrees are overly complex for many sectors is not sustainable, and they continue to add massive cost and delays for no safety gain.

‘Despite a few exemptions now surfacing after years of work, these are simply patches on the worst impacts and not a long term rethink of the previous CASA approach of over-regulation, micromanagement and red tape creation.

‘Industry has offered CASA an opportunity to enter into a new paradigm of partnership, based on transparency and a matching of regulation to risk, but this currently appears a step too far for some in CASA who are clinging to the discredited culture singled out by Forsyth.

‘The recently launched Aviation Association Forum 2016 Policies provide a mature and responsible base for action for the incoming government and AAAA looks forward to engaging on implementing policies to improve the industry and the economy’, said Mr Hurst

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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."

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