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ASRR – Aerial Agriculture Submission calls for removal CASA

The following is in part from the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA) submission to the ASRR:

However, one agency must be singled out for urgent attention and significant reform. CASA is now a low-trust organisation, with all of the implications for efficiency, performance and relationships that brings. Industry is trusting the aviation regulatory review and government to rectify this situation.

CASA is now performing so poorly as to demand significant change of its internal management and its relationship with industry so as to implement practical systems that will lead to commonly accepted benchmarks of practice and outcomes. CASA is dysfunctional at nearly every level, its relationship with industry has been junked, and it is suffering from such a pathological culture that major surgery will be required to realign the organisation with the common hallmarks of a sound safety regulator. CASA must walk the talk.

This submission provides evidence of CASA’s (and other agencies’) problems AND a clear pathway forward, modelled on previous acceptable strategies that were more closely aligned with the principles, values and systems identified above.

Industry desperately needs a resetting of the relationship with its key regulator, something that will only be achieved through both a significant change of Board and senior management at CASA and the introduction of systems across all agencies to deliver continuous improvement in Australian aviation safety regulation.

AAAA is on the money in saying that the regulator is the issue. The following supports that contention in much more direct words.

While a more detailed report card on each agency is provided later in this submission, suffice it to say that the stand-out exception is CASA which can most optimistically be described as underperforming,and at its worst is clearly pathological and in need of significant surgery and cultural rejuvenation.

 And from Australian Flying:

Aerial Ag Gives CASA a Spray

The peak body of the aerial agriculture industry has given CASA’s relationship with general aviation a decent spray in their submission to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR).

The Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia (AAAA) has singled-out the regulator’s culture as the crux of a poor and deteriorating relationship with industry.

“There has been a complete breakdown in the relationship with industry at the highest levels, an example which has now cascaded throughout almost the entire organisation,” the submission reads.

“There are many good people working in CASA who are simply unable to make headway against the prevailing culture. They are increasingly isolated and powerless.

“There are also some who delight in the culture of ‘gotcha’ that exists and is encouraged at various levels, where the ‘zero-sum game’ against industry is strongest.

“The lack of systems and confidence to allow the free flow of information both up and down the chain of command within CASA sustains the negative aspects of the CASA culture, and reinforces and encourages behaviour that in a healthy, open and just culture, with a clear focus on cooperation with industry and positive safety outcomes, would simply not be tolerated.

“As with all cultures, the problem starts and is sustained at the top.

“CASA demonstrates no strategic engagement, with industry withdrawing from meetings and discussions that involve senior management due to fatigue from being lectured to.

“There appears to be a complete disconnect between words spoken by senior CASA management and what happens on the ground – with no consistency of policy or interpretation being a long-standing concern. CASA encourages industry to adopt sound management principles and systems such as SMS, ‘just’ cultures and strong executive control of aviation companies, but is hypocritical in not applying these same principles and practices to its own operations.

“CASA does not have ‘aviation issues’ – it has management and cultural issues. A resetting of the CASA/industry relationship is critical to establishing a more mature regulatory safety culture in Australia.”

The AAAA submission also evaluates other government bodies influencing general aviation, rating Airservices Australia as “professional and competent organisation, with comparatively sound and well functioning consultation methods”.

The full submission is on the AAAA website.