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Section 1: Agency overview and resources

1.1: Strategic direction

CASA was established on 6 July 1995 as an independent statutory authority.

As Australia's aviation safety regulator, CASA's objectives and functions are determined by the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Airspace Act 2007.

Under the Civil Aviation Act 1988, CASA has the primary function of conducting the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australian territory and the operation of Australian registered aircraft outside Australian territory by means that include:

  • setting aviation standards;
  • conducting safety surveillance;
  • certifying aircraft, maintenance organisations, operators and licensing pilots, engineers and registering examiners;
  • enforcing safety standards;
  • conducting regular reviews of the system of civil aviation safety to monitor safety performance of the aviation industry by identifying safety-related trends and risk factors;
  • assessing international safety developments; and
  • promoting development of Australia's civil aviation safety capabilities, skills and services for the benefit of the Australian community and for aviation industry.

On 1 July 2007, CASA accepted a new responsibility for airspace regulation, previously the responsibility of Airservices Australia. The Australian Airspace Policy Statement came into effect at the same time. It provides explicit directions to CASA, as airspace regulator, for administering airspace as a national resource.

Elements of CASA's strategic direction

CASA's vision is 'Safe skies for all'. CASA's mission is to enhance and promote aviation safety through effective safety regulation by encouraging industry to deliver high standards of safety.

CASA's planning framework, together with the reform program which began in 2004, lays the necessary foundation for its strategic direction. CASA's strategic direction is designed to encapsulate the change process in a measured way, based on the operating environment.

CASA's strategic direction is underpinned by four high-level goals.

  • Achieve Safety Effectiveness.
  • Improved Efficiency.
  • Improved Industry and Other Stakeholder Relations.
  • Improved Accountability.

With CASA's main goals clearly defined, CASA is focusing on the following key areas to achieve its strategic direction.

Commitment to managing risk

As Australia's aviation safety regulator, it is critical that CASA understands the nature and full dimensions of the risks it oversees. CASA is systematically identifying and analysing a wide range of issues and risks to make informed decisions that contribute to its vision of 'Safe skies for all'.

CASA has developed a comprehensive enterprise-wide risk management framework to ensure exposures to risk throughout the organisation are identified and managed in accordance with best practice and the Australia/New Zealand Standard on Risk Management (AS/NZS 4360:2004). This framework provides CASA staff at all levels with a consistent systematic approach to identify, analyse, prioritise, treat, monitor and review organisational risk exposure.

Continuous improvement

The improvement focuses on changes and initiatives, that will lead to real and lasting enhancements in aviation safety. The underpinning initiative for CASA's continuous improvement program has been the reinforcement of an industry sector priority policy with passenger-carrying operations taking priority.

As part of this improvement process, CASA identified two priority projects: the Industry Oversight Program and the Workforce Capability Program. The Industry Oversight Program will enable CASA to assess the safety of air operators through a structured approach based on systems safety and risk management principles.

CASA recognises that as a consequence of the ongoing evolution of the aviation industry in Australia, CASA as the regulator requires a more diverse mix of experts and specialists to meet the challenges of a dynamic industry. The Workforce Capability Program aims to determine the mix of skills needed to ensure CASA people are able to perform at their full potential into the future.

Industry outlook and implications for CASA

The industry outlook over the next three years is for continuing change and pressure from many sources, in all sectors of the aviation industry. CASA is energetically working to meet industry needs through a number of initiatives including reviewing its method of industry oversight; further developing its systems audit capabilities; broadening its resource base with mechanisms to acquire short-term assistance for specialist work or to supplement staff during peak activity periods and continuing to adapt its organisation to better meet industry needs.

Improved safety in flying training

CASA plans to broaden its involvement with the flying training sector. Specifically CASA will seek to address the safety risks involved in training, and ensure instructors' and testing officers' attitudes and competencies are such that trainees gain the requisite skills, knowledge and behaviours to ensure safe aviation into the future.

Information and knowledge management

The key to CASA's business is its information management and knowledge of the aviation industry. CASA's knowledge management strategy identifies initiatives to retain information and enhance the safety value of information collected. This will deliver significant benefits by allowing better use of information to deliver more effective risk-based regulatory services and surveillance activities. It will also reduce duplication of similar knowledge stores and improve consistency in CASA's exercising of delegations and in its decision-making processes.

Transition to FMA

The Government has made the determination to retain CASA under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 pending further consideration of CASA's governance arrangements in 2008-09.

Long Term Funding Strategy

CASA has in place a Long Term Funding Strategy (LTFS) that establishes a framework aimed at providing long term financial sustainability with a sound resourcing structure, and efficient and effective fiscal management.

The planned increase in cost recovery and reduction in aviation fuel excise will not occur in 2008-09. The Government will review CASA's long-term funding base in 2008-09, with the outcomes reflected in a new long-term funding policy to be introduced in 2009-10.

Cost recovery arrangements

CASA, as part of its LTFS initiated progressive full cost recovery of its services in 2005-06. The following table shows budgeted revenue from cost recovery arrangements.

  2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
LTFS Regulatory service fees $15.000m $15.000m $15.000m $15.000m
ASIC/AVID issue and renewal $2.023m $2.786m $2.972m $3.623m
Airspace regulation $2.650m $2.700m $2.750m $2.800m
Total $19.673m $20.486m $20.722m $21.423m

Regulatory service fees and ASIC/AVID Issue and Renewals

CASA collects fees for regulatory services in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Fees) Regulations 1995.

CASA's LTFS includes implementation of cost recovery for regulatory services in three phases. Phase 1 commenced on 1 January 2006 with a target cost recovery amount of $10.5m in 2006-07. Phase 2 commenced on 1 July 2007 with a target cost recovery amount of $15.0m in 2007-08. It was intended that CASA implement Phase 3 of cost recovery on 1 July 2008, however this has been delayed until the review of CASA's LTFS is completed in mid-2008. Target cost recovery amounts remain fixed at $15.0m in 2008-09 and out-years, pending completion of the LTFS review, which will include consideration of the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.

A Cost Recovery Impact Statement (CRIS) was prepared in 2005 before the commencement of Phase 1 Cost Recovery and a second CRIS was prepared for the implementation of Phase 2 in 2007-08. This CRIS includes Australian Security Identification Card/Aviation Identification Card (ASIC/AVID) issue and renewal. Both statements can be found on CASA's website www.casa.gov.au.

In November 2005, CASA became an issuing body for ASIC and AVID cards on a cost recovery basis. The costs associated with issue and renewal of these cards increases CASA's cost recovery amounts.

Office of Airspace Regulation

CASA has entered into a cost recovery arrangement with Airservices Australia for airspace regulation. The Airspace Act 2007 provided for the airspace regulation function to be transferred from Airservices Australia to CASA on 1 July 2007. The Act provides for regulations to be made to allow CASA to charge for airspace regulation functions. However, initially the cost of the function is being recovered from Airservices Australia under an inter-agency agreement.

The agreement allows two types of costs to be recovered. Costs for routine airspace functions are fixed at $1.4m per year, with annual indexation based on the Consumer Price Index. Costs associated with major airspace reform functions are capped at $1.2m but may be increased in accordance with an agreed scope of work.

CASA's cost recovery from Airservices is consistent with Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines, as full costs are being recovered.

The Airspace Act 2007 provides for a review of the Australian Airspace Policy Statement to be performed at least once every three years. It is likely that charges for airspace regulation will be considered in such reviews. In addition CASA will review charges for airspace regulation in accordance with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.

Purchaser-provider arrangements

CASA has entered into an agreement with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure) for a purchaser-provider arrangement to cover the provision of transport safety assistance to Indonesia.

Funds for the project are to be appropriated to Infrastructure and subsequently provided to CASA in 2008-09.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all origins. The table summarises how resources will be applied by outcome and by administered and departmental classification.

Table 1.1: CASA resource statement Budget estimates for 2008-09 as at Budget May 2008

Total appropriations and other receipts to be received by CASA in 2008-09 is $148.6m, comprising $45.9m from departmental appropriation, $77.1m from special appropriations, and $25.6m from receipts from independent sources.

CASA's total appropriation and other receipts in 2008-09 have increased by $5.1m from 2007-08 estimated actuals. This increase is largely attributable to the following:

  • Increase in appropriation revenue - $2.9m. This is the net effect of increased funding provided as part of previously agreed budget measures ($2.3m) plus an increase in funding from special appropriations ($1.3m) associated with forecasted higher volumes of aviation fuel excise collections, offset by a decrease in baseline funding reflecting the government's efficiency dividend ($0.7m); and

  • Increase in regulatory service fees - $3.0m due to a projected increase by industry in the utilisation of CASA's overall regulatory services arrangements.

1.3: Budget measures

Budget measures relating to CASA are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2. Table 1.2 provides a summary of CASA's 2008-09 Budget measures and identifies the relevant outcome and output groups associated with each measure.

Table 1.2: CASA 2008-09 Budget measures

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Budget 2008-09