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Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Section 1: Agency overview and resources

1.1: Strategic direction statement

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is an independent statutory authority established in 1995 under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation.

While safety regulation of civil aviation remains its primary role, CASA also provides safety education and training programs and in recent years has acquired responsibilities for airspace regulation and some environmental issues.

CASA's objectives and functions are specified in the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Airspace Act 2007.

In summary, CASA's functions are to maintain, enhance and promote civil aviation safety by:

  • developing and promulgating appropriate, clear and concise aviation safety standards;
  • developing effective oversight, surveillance and enforcement strategies to secure compliance with aviation safety standards;
  • issuing certificates, licences, registrations and permits;
  • conducting comprehensive aviation industry surveillance, including assessment of safety-related decisions taken by industry at all organisational levels for their impact on aviation safety;
  • conducting regular reviews of the system of civil aviation safety in order to monitor the safety performance of the aviation industry, to identify safety-related trends and risk factors and to promote the development and improvement of the system;
  • conducting regular and timely assessment of international safety developments;
  • improving the safety management and regulatory regime of Australianadministered airspace and the safety of airways, aerodromes and associated services;
  • regulating drug and alcohol management plans and testing; and
  • safety education and promotion.

Key Elements of CASA's Strategic Direction

The Australian Government is committed to maintaining and enhancing safety as its number one priority in aviation.  CASA's future direction is designed to ensure that CASA meets the Government's and the Australian public's aviation safety expectations.

The high-level direction positions CASA to contribute more effectively and efficiently to the management of aviation safety risks and improving relationships with the key industry participants within a strong governance framework.

CASA's direction has been influenced by several factors, the most important of which is the Government's White Paper on National Aviation Policy (Aviation White Paper).  The Aviation White Paper conveys a conscious decision by the Government to draw together the various aviation policy strands into a single, cohesive and forward-looking aviation policy statement.  The Government has set out some clear objectives in the Aviation White Paper:

  • to give industry the certainty and incentive to plan and invest for the long term;
  • to maintain and improve Australia's excellent safety record;
  • to give proper consideration to the interests of travellers and users of airports; and
  • to better manage the impact of aviation activity on communities and the environment.

CASA's strategic direction will ensure the relevant requirements of the Government's Aviation White Paper are implemented effectively and efficiently.  CASA's three key goals are:

  • enhanced focus on regulating aviation safety;
  • enhanced governance and operational efficiency; and
  • enhanced relationships with key aviation participants.

Each goal is supported by a number of objectives and initiatives/projects.  The achievement of the objectives will be monitored by a comprehensive performance management process.

Challenging Aviation Trends and Implications for CASA

CASA continuously reviews the system of civil aviation to monitor key emerging risks and the safety performance of the aviation industry.  CASA's strategic direction has been presented against a background of major challenges facing Australian aviation.

The aviation landscape is growing in complexity through rising costs, the entry of additional foreign and low cost operators, introduction of bigger and more technologically complex aircraft, increased competition for qualified staff, an ageing fleet at the smaller end of the industry, and an increasing number of passengers flying every year.  The resources required to address these factors are outlined in CASA's Funding Strategy.

CASA's Funding Strategy

CASA has established a Funding Strategy which provides a framework of financial sustainability for the period 2010-11 to 2013-14 and is consistent with the funding principles outlined in the Aviation White Paper.  This strategy secures funding, through the Budget, for:

  • surveillance and technical resources to strengthen CASA's capacity to maintain and enhance aviation safety in response to expanding areas of aviation activity;
  • strengthening CASA's technical capability and regulatory oversight ability including the  expansion of  technical training capacity for its technical staff as well as the development and maintenance of safety standards;
  •  a number of vital ongoing safety measures (such as industry alcohol and drug programs) that would otherwise have expired in 2009-10;
  • continuation of its five member Board; and
  • the Office of Airspace Regulation. This funding replaces the existing cost recovery arrangement with AirServices Australia, due to expire under the existing agreement on 30 June 2010.

The Government has agreed to increase aviation safety funding through an increase in aviation fuel excise with effect from 1 July 2010.  This will result in the aviation fuel excise rate increasing from 2.854 cents per litre to 3.556 cents per litre, an increase of 0.702 cents per litre.

Within this funding strategy, additional revenue of $89.9m is forecast to be generated by the increase in the aviation fuel excise rate over the budget and three forward estimate years, based upon projected volumes of collection.  CASA will use this additional revenue to fund 97 permanent positions for safety specialists, safety analysts and airworthiness inspectors and other staff, allowing CASA to expand its surveillance activities and fulfil its increasingly complex regulatory responsibilities.

Cost Recovery Arrangements

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

The Government's Aviation White Paper caps the sum of CASA's regulatory fees at the current $15m per annum, subject to adjustment for CPI increases, for at least five years.  The cap acknowledges the Government's commitment to address the burden of CASA's regulatory charges, in particular on regional and general aviation.

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.

The following table shows budgeted revenue from cost recovery arrangements.

Budget Forward
$m 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
LTFS Regulatory service fees 12.0 15.0 15.0 15.0 15.0
ASIC/AVID issue and renewal 2.3 1.8 2.3 1.6 2.3
Airspace regulation1 3.0 - - - -
Total 17.3 16.8 17.3 16.6 17.3

1.2: Agency resource statement

Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources.

Table 1.1:  Agency resource statement - Budget estimates for 2010-11 as at Budget May 2010

1.3: Budget measures

Budget measures relating to CASA are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2 and are summarised below.

Table 1.2: Agency 2010-11 Budget measures

1Funding for the Office of Airspace Regulation in the Budget and forward years will be sourced through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Funding Strategy Budget measure.

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Budget 2010-11