All other provisions commence on the day on which the Bill
receives Royal Assent.
- To make the operators of international terminals, rather than
airlines who use them, responsible for the security screening of
- To enable de facto spouses to claim compensation if their
partners are injured or killed in an air accident; and
- To give the Air Services Commission the power to allocate
seating capacity on flights between points outside Australia, as
well as those between Australia and other countries.
This Bill amends five different Acts:
- the Air Navigation Act 1920;
- the Airports Act 1996;
- the Air Services Act 1995;
- the Civil Aviation (Carriers Liability) Act 1959;
- the International Air Services Commission Act
The most important changes are to do with airport security
arrangements contained in the Air Navigation Act 1920.
At the moment, the airlines are responsible for the security
screening of passengers at both domestic and international
terminals. The usual method of doing this at the international and
larger domestic terminals is to have security checkpoints
controlling access into a 'sterile area'. Passengers then board the
aircraft from the sterile area.
However the airlines have been concerned about having the
responsibility, and therefore the liability if something goes
wrong, at airports where they do not have total control over the
sterile areas. For example, at Sydney international airport, the
same checkpoint screens passengers for more than 30 airlines. And
those passengers are screened into a sterile area with shops and
other commercial operations run and stocked by people who may come
and go through other entrances which the airlines have no control
over. The responsibility for those entrances lies with the terminal
The airlines took their concerns to the industry group, the
Aviation Security Consultative Group, chaired by the Department of
Transport and Regional Development. This Bill had its genesis there
and allows for a much wider range of security arrangements.
The Bill gives primary responsibility for security screening at
international airports to the terminal operators, at least where
sterile areas are used, thus centralising responsibility rather
than splitting it between the operators and the airlines.
But the Bill also allows the secretary of the Department of
Transport and Regional Development to approve other arrangements,
if s/he believes it would lead to improved security. For example, a
terminal operator, in combination with two airlines, could have
responsibility for different parts of the one terminal.
It's worth noting that while international airports are the
primary target of the Bill, this is not mentioned specifically. The
Bill is written in general terms, and may be applied to domestic
terminals as well, with joint-user terminals like Canberra, Alice
Springs, Townsville, and Hobart among those most likely to be
Airline Security: amendments to the Air Navigation Act
Items 1 to 11 in Schedule 1 deal with
definitions (contained in section
3, and section 11A). They either insert
new ones including for 'screening authority' and 'screening
officer', or change existing ones. The most important change is the
new definition for 'screening point'. The old definition made it
clear responsibility for screening at the screening point lay with
the operator of the aircraft. The new definition, in item
3, is neutral. It simply defines what a screening point
is, without mentioning who is responsible for screening. That is
contained in the newly inserted definition for screening officer -
simply a person authorised under the Bill to screen people or
All these definitional changes are necessary to implement the
Bill's purpose of making screening points at international airports
primarily the responsibility of terminal operators.
The definitional changes in items 9 - 11
include 'another country', 'bilateral agreement' and 'country'.
These are made to ensure definitions in the Air Navigation
Act remain consistent with the International Air Services
Item 12 inserts a new section
20(2A) which makes it an offence for a passenger to
intentionally or recklessly board a larger commercial or charter
aircraft, without being screened by the aircraft operator. This
section will apply both where the aircraft operator is responsible
for screening, and where, courtesy of the deeming provisions in
item 15, the screening is carried out by a
terminal operator. The fine is 80 penalty points- $8000.
Item 12 mirrors section 20(2)
which makes it an offence for an aircraft operator to, without
reasonable excuse, permit a passenger, who has not been screened to
board a plane. The fine for that offence is 200 penalty points -
Item 18 inserts a new section
20A dealing with an aircraft operator's responsibilities
if there is no sterile area. This new section mirrors the existing
provisions dealing with the responsibilities of screening
authorities operating sterile areas.
If there is no sterile area, the aircraft operator must screen
passengers, goods, vehicles etc as stipulated by the secretary of
the Department of Transport and Regional Development, using people
and equipment specified in writing by him/her.
New section 20A(3) makes it an offence for an
aircraft operator to allow a passenger, vehicle etc to board a
plane if the screening equipment detects a metal or unidentified
- the operator is satisfied the object is not dangerous; or
- the object is confiscated.
The fine is 200 penalty points - $20,000.
New sections 20A(5) - (10) stipulate that an
aircraft operator must keep screened passengers segregated from
people who have not been screened. The fine is 200 penalty points -
Item 19 repeals section 21 and
inserts new sections 21, 21A, 21B, and 21C. These
new sections are crucial to the new scheme of the Act.
These new sections deal with both:
- the secretary's powers to designate sterile areas, appoint
screening authorities, and stipulate how they should maintain the
sterile areas; and
- the screening authorities' responsibilities to screen people,
vehicles or goods entering a sterile area.
These sections give the secretary quite a lot of power,
including to mix-and-match screening authorities. For example, the
secretary may appoint one or more screening authorities at a
terminal, which may include, for example, two airlines, and the
terminal operator. This would depend on what the secretary thought
appropriate to the security and operational requirements. A major
requirement of the new provisions is that all of the screening area
must be under the control of at least one screening authority.
If the screening authority is in breach of these sections,
including written directives from the secretary, it face a fine of
200 penalty points - $20,000.
Item 28 inserts a new subsection
22A(6A) dealing with the responsibilities of screening
authorities for sterile areas. The new subsection prohibits a
screening authority from allowing a person, goods or vehicle past a
screening point if the screening equipment detects a metal or
unidentified object unless:
- the screening authority is satisfied the object is not
- the object is confiscated.
Item 29 inserts a new subsection
22A(7) which is very similar, but deals with the
responsibility of airline operators operating as screening
authorities using sterile areas. (Both items 28 and
29 are very similar to item 18. As
already discussed that section deals with aircraft operators
screening without a sterile area.)
Item 30 inserts a new subsection
22A(8) which makes it an offence to contravene new
subsections 22A(6A) or 22A(7), dealt with
above. The fine is 200 penalty points - $20,000.
Item 31 repeals subsection
22A(9) and inserts a new one. This obliges the screening
authority to keep passengers who have been screened into a sterile
area separate from people who have not been screened.
Item 38 amends subsection
22B(2) to ensure that a screening officer may stop a
person from entering a sterile area or an aircraft if that person
has refused to remove headgear, handwear, footwear and outer
clothing as part of the screening check. This amendment transfers
the existing power from airline operators to screening officers, in
line with the scheme of this Bill.
New fees: amendments to the Airports Act 1996
Item 1 in Schedule 2 to the
Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1997 inserts a
new subsection 132(3A) in the Airports Act
1996. This enables the government to charge fees for
applications made in relation to regulations governing
environmental standards at leased airports (Melbourne, Perth and
Brisbane as at 2 July 1997, with another 15 due to be privatised by
the end of this financial year).
Item 2 inserts a new subsection
133(3B). This enables the government to charge fees for
applications made in relation to regulations governing monitoring
and remedying breaches of environmental standards at leased
It's not clear on the face of the Bill what sorts of
applications could attract fees. However, the Department of
Transport and Regional Development gave examples including:
- requests for permission to vary environmental standards, for
instance to take account of local conditions; and
- authorisations to undertake specific activities, for example
aircraft maintenance involving large volumes of waste.
New functions: amendments to the Air Services Act
Item 1 of Schedule 3 of the
Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1997 inserts a
new subsections 8(1)(a) into the
Air Services Act 1995 giving Airservices Australia the
additional function of 'promoting and fostering civil aviation in
De facto compensation: amendments to the Civil Aviation
(Carriers' Liability) Act 1959
Item 1 of Schedule 4 of the
Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1997) amends
subsections 12(5) and 35(5)
of the Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act
1959 to include the term 'de facto spouse' in the list of
people eligible for compensation if a passenger dies or is injured
by an air accident.
The term 'de facto spouse' is not defined in either the Bill or
the Act. However, it probably refers only to heterosexual
New powers: amendments to the International Air
Commission Act 1992
The Air Services Commission was created by the Air Services
Commission Act 1992, with one of its major tasks being
allocating routes and seating capacity for Australian airlines
travelling to or from Australia.
This Bill gives the commission the power to also allocate to
Australian airlines seating capacity, available under international
agreements, on routes wholly outside Australia.
Until now, this has been done by the Department of Transport and
Regional Development - the body which also negotiates the
The Bill has a 'grandfather clause' ensuring current seating
allocations are protected for the next five years.
The Bill also gives the commission clearer guidelines on how to
treat 'joint international air services' for the purposes of the
Item 1 of Schedule 5 alters
the definition of 'bilateral arrangement' in subsection
4(1) of the Act. The new definition is much wider, and
refers simply to arrangements allowing the carriage of passengers
or freight. The old definition was restricted to arrangements
allowing the carriage of passengers or freight between Australian
and the other country party to the agreement.
Item 3 broadens the definition of 'capacity' to
include capacity allocated under more than one international
agreement. The Explanatory Memorandum puts it this way:
'This definition is deliberately broad, to encompass
restrictions or qualifications on capacity, contained in a
bilateral arrangement or combination of bilateral arrangements,
that the International Air Services Commission may need to make a
decisions about in the course of allocating capacity. These may
include, but are not limited to, capacity or frequency restrictions
on the points to be served, or a combination of these restrictions
Item 5 inserts a new, broad definition for
'joint international air services'. This is to assist the
commission in one of its duties - deciding to what extent an
Australian carrier may use its capacity jointly with any other
carrier - section 15(2)(e).
18 July 1997
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Last updated: 22 July 1997