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ABC interview with AAAA’s Phil Hurst on ASRR

Finally there is some public comment on the Forsyth review. CASA still has no press release on the matter. AAAA and Phil Hurst was intervied today.

There has been some comment in Cairns on the ABC as well.

I will append it with this material when it becomes available.


19 June, 2014 9:24AM AEST

Pilots have called for the introduction of new safety regulations to be deferred, as the fallout from a review into air safety is finalised.

A major agricultural aviation association says the introduction of new regulations for the aviation industry should be deferred until the outcomes of a review into air safety are finalised.

The new regulations for the industry are due to be implemented in September, and among other things, focus on pilot licensing.

In November last year, the Federal Government ordered the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR), with a 25-member panel, chaired by David Forsyth, to look into the regulation of the aviation industry.

A total of 37 recommendations came from the review, many of which proposed a significant overhaul to the regulatory authority, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The ASRR report said that, “the current relationship between industry and the regulator is cause for concern.” As such, its recommendations state that CASA:

“Changes its regulatory philosophy and, together with industry, builds an effective collaborative relationship on a foundation of mutual understanding and respect.”

“Publishes and demonstrates the philosophy of ‘just culture’ whereby individuals involved in a reportable event are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them that are commensurate with their experience and training. However, actions of gross negligence… should not be tolerated”

“CASA’s Board exercises full governance control… the next Director of Aviation Safety has leadership and management experience and capabilities in cultural change of large organisations.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia, Phil Hurst, said with the release of the ASRR findings this month, the new regulations for the industry should be deferred.

“CASA is currently under a major review. A series of recommendations have been made, and we think it’d be prudent now to defer again (because these regulations have already been put back once) these regulations, until such time as the future of CASA becomes clearer,” he said.

Later this week, air transport officials and industry bodies are meeting in Sydney to discuss the new safety regulations at the Aviation Associations Forum.

Mr Hurst said there are some concerns about the regulations, with one particular set of rules governing pilot licensing being 1,500 pages long.

“It’s quite a detailed package. Industry has been expressing concerns for some time about particular aspects of it. We’re very concerned that… CASA isn’t ready to transition.

“In our particular case in aerial application, we’re quite concerned about the interaction between the new aerial application rating and endorsement, and the fire fighting endorsement.

“Make no mistake, the industry is right behind the majority of the recommendations that have already been made; we’re just now in the process of formalising that… We want to make sure that it’s a seamless transition and we just don’t think we’re there yet.”

This week CASA has held information workshops for pilots in Parkes and Cowra.

Mr Hurst said despite pilot’s concerns about the timing of the new rules being implemented, due to the unclear fate of CASA and how the regulations would be implemented, his organisation supports pilots getting educated on the laws.

“One of the things we’ve learnt over the years is that anytime you have an opportunity to talk about aviation safety is a worthwhile exercise,” he said.

“The content to some degree is slightly less important than the fact that you are actually talking about [and focussing on] safety; so, we will still recommend to our members that it’s a useful exercise to go along and listen to what CASA has to say, and to focus on safety as we always try to do.”

Mr Hurst said he hopes the relationship between industry and regulator improves as a result of the ASRR recommendations.

“A lot of the [new] regulations are not guidance for people trying to do the right thing; they are actually penalty provisions, so that if you are caught-out inadvertently doing the wrong thing, then you are treated as if it was an offence that you meant to commit.

“It does make it very difficult in an aviation safety environment to ensure that the regulations encourage safe behaviour, and encourage a safe culture.

“That’s a critical issue for us; we want a safe culture with plain-English regulations.”


Phil Hurst spoke to ABC News journalist, Melanie Pearce.

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