Welcome back Minister, now let’s get on with it!

The Australian Aviation Associations Forum has welcomed Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester on his reappointment to what he  describes as “this critical ministerial position for Australia’s economy, job creation and the aviation industry.”

But the TAAAF’s welcome comes with a continued push for the Minister to steer back onto the course mapped out by the Forsyth Review’s 37 recommendations.

The TAAAF is a broad-ranging group of separate industry bodies representing aircraft owners & pilots, aerial agricultural/application industry, aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul businesses, business aviation operators, charter and flying training organisations, UAV (“drone”) operators, helicopter services, regional airlines, and sport fliers including homebuilt, gliders, warbird and other recreational aviators.

All TAAAF members are urging the Minister, “as a matter of priority, to issue a strong Statement of Expectations to CASA to specifically reinforce the primacy of the CASA Board.

“Forum participants highlight the value of creating a new partnership with industry, as outlined in the Forum 2016 aviation policy and continue to be disappointed with the lack of action in critical areas from CASA.

“The Forum expresses frustration at the disarray of the regulatory system, with new regulations likely to continue to remove jobs and opportunities from the industry through increased costs for no safety outcome.

“The Forum calls on the Minister to direct the CASA Board to establish a small joint industry action taskforce to fix clearly identified problems.

“The work program of the taskforce must include urgent remedies especially for CAO 48.1, but also CASR Parts 61/141/142/ 101/121/135 and the aviation medical area.

“The Forum identifies significant cultural change and systemic issues that are still not being corrected and which require immediate attention by the CASA Board.
“In particular, the Forum expresses continuing concern with the lack of progress in the genuine implementation of the previously-agreed Forsyth recommendations and would welcome the re-engagement of Mr David Forsyth to conduct a review and public report on actual outcomes to date.

“In addition, there remain many outstanding issues of concern that are yet to be resolved including:

  • Fitment schedule of ADS-B in Australia
  • Lack of harmonisation of Australian regulations with our major trading partners
  • Negative training impacts on both flying training and maintenance providers
  • Proposed deregulation of RPAS (‘drones’) below 2 kg and even up to 25kg
  • Non-standardisation of CASA regulatory interpretations between regions

“The TAAAF Aviation Policy 2016 provides a wide range of appropriate expert advice on aviation issues and the TAAAF participants recommend the policies to the Government for further consultation and implementation.”

David Forsyth’s government-commissioned Aviation Safety Regulation Review clearly identified industry’s three highest concerns across all submissions as:

  • the regulatory reform program (136 submissions considered this to be top priority);
  • CASA’s inflexible regulatory approach (120 submissions); and
  • the need for more promotion of aviation (90 submissions).

Another of the review’s observations was that:

While CASA appears to be 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.)

Forum members contacted by ProAviation are still scanning the horizon for any initiative that will begin to restore the trust they believe has now been progressively squandered for more than a quarter of a century.

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