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AMROBA submission

The following is the AMROBA submission, which puts it in a nutshell.

How could we not agree – Let’s get rid of the CASA regs and just join the world using either the NZ-CAA regs or the FAA-Regs

Ken R Cannane
Executive Director
AMROBA says:

Aviation Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Business Association inc.
Submission

Senate’s Inquiry into the Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and related matters

Summary

To say that CASA is a dysfunctional organisation is an irony. Ever since the government, in the mid 1980s, decided to reform aviation regulations, orders and practices of the government’s aviation regulator to remove ‘red tape’ and ‘hidden’ exemptions and authorisations, the industry has had to operate under legislation that now has more inconsistencies than were in existent in the 1980s. The pace of change has been so slow and has implemented inconsistent legislative requirements, especially on the MRO industry. Changes in 1992 & 1998 still not complete.

Because successive governments have opted to appoint CASA CEOs/Directors straight from industry, the major evolution that has been done by each new CEO is to restructure the safety organisation to the point that many regulatory experts have left the regulator. Over the last few years the restructuring of the beleaguered regulator has reversed the 1980’s government’s decision to centralise the regulator from Melbourne to Canberra by transferring Canberra jobs to Brisbane.

CASA appears determined to return to the problems of the 1980s by shifting the Operations HO to a regional centre ‐ Brisbane (1980s – Melbourne). Every relocation of CASA costs money and reduces their expertise and experience.

Today’s structure does not resemble a National Aviation Authority.

Until government legislatively creates an organisational structure based on ICAO obligations and other mature NAAs and makes responsible managers accountable, the aviation regulator will not be able to meet its international and domestic obligations. Too much corporate history and regulatory knowledge has been lost to the aviation safety regulator as it struggles to come to terms with its “safety” role.

Recent employment of some senior managers with actual civil aviation managerial experience by CASA appears to be making changes towards being a “safety” regulator but there are many within CASA that still do not understand the role of a ‘safety’ regulator – most will only ever be a ‘regulatory compliance’ regulator. CASA, like many other second level regulators, now needs to send its technical staff to a NAA’s training school like the CAA(UK), FAA(USA) or TC (Canada) who all teach the relation of ICAO standards and recommendations that underline their regulatory systems. CASA’s predecessors once had an internationally recognised aviation regulatory training capability.

Regulatory development has become a career where various CEOs/Directors have favoured ‘world’s best practice’ and harmonising with aviation regulatory systems from other countries even though some of the regulatory systems being followed do not have Parliamentary scrutiny as does Australian legislation. Adoption of ICAO standards should be the basis of harmonisation. During the 1990s the Minister appointed an industry body to overseer regulatory development and that industry advisory panel opted for the US aviation regulatory system that would have reduced costs to aviation in a similar manner as has happened in NZ when they opted for the US system, especially for GA. The current EASA approach will give Australia a confusing system based on a number of systems that are not harmonised.

CASA’s changing management continue to measure success on restructuring the safety organisation and not on making regulatory changes that will simplify practices and benefit the industry and community. Unlike ICAO and most other regulatory systems, the current legislation places responsibility for safety on individuals within organisations (operators) who have to hold a multitude of authorisations (licenses) granted by CASA. AMROBA has continually stated that the rule changes must empower business to trade safely.

Though some CASA ‘responsible managers’ have indicated that reform is happening, industry has seen very little change or reduction in the ‘red tape’ that existed in the 1980s.
Ken R Cannane
Executive Director
AMROBA
ken@amroba.org.au