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8 May 2007 010TRS/Budget

The Australian Government will provide the Civil Aviation Safety Authority with an extra $12.8 million over the next four years ($2.1 million in 2007-08) so it can increase its surveillance of Australia's airlines and keep our skies safe.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, made the announcement today.

"Australia has arguably the safest skies in the world, and the Government is determined to keep them safe. The Australian airline industry is becoming larger and more complex, so we have decided to provide CASA with more resources," Mr Vaile said.

"In the four years to 2005-06, the number of domestic airline flights in Australia increased by 16 per cent. The number of international flights increased by 25 per cent. The total number of fare paying passengers increased by 33 per cent.

"In addition, the airline industry is going through significant operational changes, including the introduction of several complex new aircraft types at the same time, such as the A380 and the B787 Dreamliner.

"The changes also include the use of larger aircraft by the regional airlines and the emergence of new Australian international carriers, which are operating more aircraft on more routes.

"These changes are all good news for Australian airline passengers, but they all involve more work for the air safety regulator.

"The new funding will increase CASA's ability to work with the airlines to develop their safety management systems. It will also enable CASA officers to spend more time on the tarmac and in the cockpit carrying out inspections and audits.

"CASA will recruit more technical specialists from Australia and overseas so it can conduct the extra surveillance," he said.

CASA's total resourcing in 2007-08 will be $138.6 million.

Media contacts: Tim Langmead 02 6277 7680/0421 584 990