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Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Section 1: Agency overview and resources

1.1: Strategic direction

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) was established on 6 July 1995 as an independent statutory authority.

As Australia's aviation safety regulator, CASA's objectives and functions are specified in the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the CAA) and the Airspace Act 2007.

Under the CAA, 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 safety standards;
  • conducting comprehensive aviation industry surveillance;
  • certifying aircraft, maintenance organisations, operators and licensing pilots, engineers and registering examiners;
  • developing enforcement strategies to secure compliance with aviation safety standards;
  • conducting regular reviews of the system of civil aviation safety; and
  • assessing international safety developments.

CASA also has the safety-related functions of:

  • encouraging a greater acceptance by the aviation industry of its safety obligations;
  • promoting full and effective consultation and communication with all interested parties on aviation safety issues;
  • cooperating with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in relation to the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents; and
  • promoting development of Australia's civil aviation safety capabilities, skills and services for the benefit of the Australian community and for export.

In exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as its most important consideration.

On 21 August 2007, the CAA was amended to provide the statutory basis upon which CASA can test people involved in safety-sensitive aviation activities for use of alcohol and other drugs.

CASA has responsibility for airspace regulation under the Airspace Act 2007. The Australian Airspace Policy Statement provides explicit directions to CASA, as airspace regulator, for administering airspace as a national resource.

Key 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 and by encouraging industry to deliver high standards of safety.

CASA's planning framework, together with the reform program which began in 2004 formed the basis for its strategic direction. The main thrust of the reform was to transform CASA into a more industry-facing organisation with a clear focus on safety outcomes, with the right people in the right positions and with CASA safety experts spending more time on the tarmac. Another aim was to implement robust governance processes that are transparent and accountable. This reform centred on introducing changes and initiatives in a measured way that would lead to real and lasting improvements.

CASA's strategic direction is designed to encapsulate the change process in a measured way, based on the operating environment. CASA has four high-level goals:

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

CASA, as the aviation safety regulator, develops the strategic direction with a near-to-longer-term (three years) focus and regularly reviews and evaluates it to ensure CASA's functions are maintained at the highest possible level. CASA's overall strategic direction is evolving, with further refinements to its strategies and initiatives, to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing aviation industry.

Governance Arrangements

Amendments to the CAA were passed through Parliament in March 2009, introducing a number of important changes to the legislation designed to further improve the governance of CASA, primarily by creating a Board, strengthening CASA's capacity to take necessary safety action, facilitating the process by which standards developed by other authorities and organisations can be adopted for use by CASA and extending the ability for the Director of CASA to delegate certain functions and powers under the regulations.

The primary functions of the Board will be deciding the objectives, strategies and policies to be followed by CASA; ensuring CASA performs its functions in a proper, efficient and effective manner; and ensuring that CASA complies with directions given by the Minister under section 12B of the CAA. For this purpose, CASA is seeking funding to support the Board in the 2009-10 Budget.

The Government will retain CASA under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 and review this arrangement in two years.

National Aviation Policy Statement

CASA is providing input to the development of the Government's National Aviation Policy Statement (White Paper) on the future of Australian aviation. The statement will provide clearer direction and greater certainty to all those associated with Australian aviation.

Challenging Environmental trends and implications for CASA

CASA is obliged under the CAA to conduct regular reviews of civil aviation safety. This involves monitoring the safety performance of the aviation industry to identify safety-related trends and risk factors. CASA analysis goes beyond the operational risks that affect individual organisations to also consider the factors, trends and issues that may affect the industry in general.

The Australian aviation industry, in concert with worldwide aviation, is changing rapidly. Such change has included:

  • entry of new competitors into the aviation market;
  • introduction of new aircraft types and technologies;
  • economic pressures caused by recent conditions in the global economy and the flow-on affects to the Australian economy; and
  • likely economic pressures caused by initiatives to combat the effects of climate change.

CASA's Funding Strategy

CASA has drafted a Funding Strategy that establishes a framework of financial sustainability for the period 2009-10 to 2012-13.

In the context of the 2010-11 Budget, alternative funding options will be considered to ensure the ongoing funding of CASA's new governance arrangements and the Office of Airspace Regulation beyond the expiration of the existing agreement with Airservices Australia on 30 June 2010.

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 from Airservices Australia. 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 $1.5m 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.

Purchaser-provider arrangements

CASA has an agreement with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government for a purchaser-provider arrangement to cover the provision of transport safety assistance to Indonesia until 30 June 2010.

Cost recovery arrangements

The following table shows budgeted revenue from cost recovery arrangements.

Budget Forward
  2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
LTFS Regulatory service fees $13.276m $15.000m $15.000m $15.000m $15.000m
ASIC/AVID issue and renewal $1.312m $2.786m $2.972m $3.623m $3.902m
Airspace regulation $2.966m $3.016m $3.066m $3.116m $3.188m
Total $17.554m $20.802m $21.038m $21.739m $22.090m

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 Funding Strategy reflects the Government's decision to retain the current funding arrangements for regulatory services and aviation fuel excise pending an industry impact analysis on revenue derived from industry and in particular the impact that user charges have on the regional and general aviation sectors.

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.

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all origins.

Table 1.1: Agency resource statement - Budget estimates for 2009-10 as at Budget May 2009 

Total appropriations and other receipts to be received by CASA in 2009-10 is $152.9m, comprising $46.5m from departmental appropriation, $81.4m from special appropriations, and $25.0m from receipts from independent sources.

1.3: Budget measures

Budget measures relating to CASA are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2. Table 1.2 provides a summary of government measures and identifies the relevant program associated with each measure.

Table 1.2: Agency 2009-10 Budget measures 

1.4: Transition from outcomes and outputs to outcomes and programs

From the 2009-10 Budget, all General Government Sector (GGS) entities will be reporting on a program basis. The table below outlines the transition from the 2008-09 Budget year (as at 2008-09 Budget) which was presented in outputs and output groups to the program reporting framework used for the 2009-10 Budget. The table also captures revisions made to GGS outcome statements under the Operation Sunlight Outcome Statements Review.

Figure 1.2: Transition table

Figure 1.2 Transition Table

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Budget 2009-10