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ATSB – Legislation

ATSB operates under the TSI Act with the last iteration below:

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2013C00020

or from:

TSI Act – C2013C00020

Section 12 shows the direction that can be made by the Minister for Transport:

Part 2—Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Division 1—Establishment, functions and powers of Bureau

12  Establishment of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is established by this section.

12A  Constitution of the ATSB

(1)  The ATSB consists of:

(a)  a Chief Commissioner; and

(b)  2 or more Commissioners.

(2)  The performance of a function or the exercise of a power of the ATSB is not affected by a vacancy in the membership of the ATSB.

12AA  Functions of the ATSB

(1)  The ATSB’s function is to improve transport safety by means that include the following:

(a)  receiving and assessing reports of transport safety matters, reportable matters, and other safety information that is prescribed by the regulations;

(b)  independently investigating transport safety matters;

(c)  identifying factors that:

(i)  contribute, or have contributed, to transport safety matters; or

(ii)  affect, or might affect, transport safety;

(d)  communicating those factors to relevant sectors of the transport industry and the public in any way, including in any one or more of the following ways:

(i)  by making safety action statements;

(ii)  by making safety recommendations;

(iii)  by issuing safety advisory notices;

(e)  reporting publicly on those investigations;

(f)  conducting public educational programs about matters relating to transport safety;

(g)  any other means prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The ATSB also has the following functions:

(a)  cooperating with:

(i)  an agency of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory that has functions or powers relating to transport safety or functions affected by the ATSB’s function of improving transport safety; and

(ii)  a person who has, under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, functions or powers relating to transport safety or functions affected by the ATSB’s function of improving transport safety; and

(iii)  a national authority or other body of another country that has functions or powers relating to transport safety or functions affected by the ATSB’s function of improving transport safety;

(b)  doing anything incidental to its function of improving transport safety.

(3)  The following are not functions of the ATSB:

(a)  to apportion blame for transport safety matters;

(b)  to provide the means to determine the liability of any person in respect of a transport safety matter;

(c)  to assist in court proceedings between parties (except as provided by this Act, whether expressly or impliedly);

(d)  to allow any adverse inference to be drawn from the fact that a person was involved in a transport safety matter.

However, even though blame or liability may be inferred, or an adverse inference may be made, by a person other than the ATSB, this does not prevent the ATSB from carrying out its functions.

(4)  To avoid doubt, subsection (3) does not prevent the prosecution of any offence under this Act.

12AB  Independence of the ATSB and Chief Commissioner

(1)  Subject to section 21, the ATSB is not subject to direction from anyone in relation to the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers.

(2)  The Chief Commissioner is not subject to direction from anyone in relation to the exercise of his or her powers. However, when exercising his or her powers, the Chief Commissioner must act consistently with the ATSB in the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers.

Note:          This means that the ATSB and the Chief Commissioner would not, for example, be subject to direction from anyone in relation to:

(a)    how a particular investigation will be carried out; or

(b)    the content of a public report on a particular investigation.

12AC  Minimal disruption to transport services

In exercising powers under this Act, the ATSB and the Chief Commissioner must have regard to the desirability of minimising any resulting disruption to transport by means of transport vehicles.

12AD  International obligations

(1)  The ATSB must ensure that the ATSB’s powers under this Act are exercised in a manner that is consistent with Australia’s obligations under international agreements (as in force from time to time) that are identified by the regulations for the purpose of this section.

(2)  The Chief Commissioner must ensure that the Chief Commissioner’s powers under this Act are exercised in a manner that is consistent with Australia’s obligations under international agreements (as in force from time to time) that are identified by the regulations for the purpose of this section.

(3)  In exercising powers under this Act, the ATSB and the Chief Commissioner must also have regard to any rules, recommendations, guidelines, codes or other instruments (as in force from time to time) that are promulgated by an international organisation and that are identified by the regulations for the purposes of this section.

12AE  Minister may give the ATSB notices about its strategic direction

(1)  The Minister may, by written instrument, notify the ATSB of the Minister’s views on the appropriate strategic direction for the ATSB.

(2)  Subject to section 12AB, the ATSB must have regard to a notification given under subsection (1).

(3)  A notification given under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.