Bills Digest No.
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Law and Bills Digest Section
History of the Bill
Purpose of the Bill
Key issues and provisions
Statement of Compatibility with Human
Policy position of non-government
Position of major interest groups
Date introduced: 4 July 2019
House: The Senate
Transport, Cities and Regional Development
day after Royal Assent.
Links: The links to the Bill,
its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can be found on the
Bill’s home page, or through the Australian
When Bills have been passed and have received Royal Assent,
they become Acts, which can be found at the Federal Register of Legislation
All hyperlinks in this Bills Digest are correct as
at July 2019.
During the last Parliament, the Civil
Aviation Amendment Bill 2019 (the first Bill) was introduced into the House
of Representatives on 21 February 2019 and was passed unopposed by the House on
3 April 2019.
The first Bill was not considered by the Senate before the election held on
Saturday 18 May 2019.
Aviation Amendment Bill 2019 (the Bill) was introduced into the Senate on 4
July 2019 after the current Parliament commenced and is in identical terms to
the first Bill.
The purpose of the Bill is to amend section 9A the Civil Aviation
Act 1988 to require the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to
consider additional factors when making aviation safety standards under
paragraph 9(1)(c) of the Act.
In April 2018, Dick Smith, former Chairman of the Civil
Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), delivered a public address in Wagga Wagga on
‘The destruction of the general aviation and flight training industry in
Australia’. In his speech, Mr Smith presented six proposals for ‘revitalising
the aviation industry’, including amending the Civil Aviation Act so
that CASA would be required to consider costs implications when performing its
functions. Mr Smith stated that Barnaby Joyce and
Anthony Albanese, as Minister and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport,
had given bipartisan support for the proposed change, but ‘the prospect of a
bipartisan deal crashed days later with Mr Joyce’s resignation from cabinet’.
In July 2018 an Aviation Summit was hosted by the Australian
General Aviation Alliance (AGAA).
The Summit was attended by over 100 delegates from a number of industry
associations, aviation experts, Department and regulatory representatives
including CASA and Airservices Australia, as well as Federal members and
The Aviation Summit resulted in Summit
Resolutions being passed and
provided to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport
and Regional Development, Michael McCormack—the resolutions include, among
other things, amending section 9A of the Civil Aviation Act. The intent
of the resolution is in line with the proposed changes made by the Bill.
The main object of the Civil Aviation Act is to
establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the
safety of civil aviation, with particular emphasis on preventing aviation
accidents and incidents.
Aviation Safety Authority’s role
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is established
as an independent statutory authority under section 8 of the Civil Aviation Act
1988 and is responsible for the safety regulation of civil air operations
in Australian territory and the operation of Australian aircraft outside
One of CASA’s functions is to develop and promulgate
appropriate, clear and concise aviation safety standards.
‘Aviation safety standards’ are defined under
section 3 of the Civil Aviation Act and include standards relating to
flight crews engaged in operations of aircraft
design, construction, maintenance, operation and use of aircraft and related
personnel engaged in and the planning, construction, establishment, operation
and use of aerodromes
establishment and use of airspace
personnel engaged in the maintenance of aircraft and related equipment
engaged in and the planning, construction, establishment, maintenance,
operation and use of services and facilities:
the purposes of complying with Australia’s international obligations in
relation to aviation, or otherwise relating to the safety, regularity or
efficiency of air navigation or
with search and rescue services provided by the Australian Maritime Safety
considers when making aviation safety standards
Subsection 9A(1) of the Civil Aviation Act requires
that CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important
consideration when exercising its powers or performing its functions, including
developing aviation safety standards.
Subject to this primary consideration, CASA must also ensure
that when exercising its powers or performing its functions and as far as is
practicable, the environment is protected from the effects of, and the effects
associated with, the operation and use of aircraft.
Item 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bill inserts proposed
subsection 9A(3) into the Civil Aviation Act. This would require
CASA to consider the following additional factors, subject to the primary
consideration being the safety of air navigation, when making aviation safety
economic and cost impact on individuals, businesses and the community of the
differing risks associated with different industry sectors.
The proposed subsection applies to CASA’s development of
aviation safety standards under paragraph 9(1)(c) of the Civil Aviation Act
rather than to CASA’s powers and functions more broadly.
The amendment is consistent with CASA’s regulatory
philosophy which ‘sets out the principles underpinning the way we perform
our functions, exercise our power and engage with the aviation community’. The
philosophy sets out ten principles, one of which relates to safety and cost.
Principle two provides that, although safety is the most important consideration,
‘CASA is required to take all relevant considerations, including cost, into
Where reasonable alternative
approaches to the fulfillment of a regulatory requirement-
- satisfy applicable legal requirements and
- do not unacceptably compromise safety.
CASA will readily entertain such
alternatives if they are proposed, and accept them in the absence of compelling
reasons not to do so.
The amendment may also be regarded as consistent with
01/2015: Development and Application of Risk- Based and Cost- Effective
Aviation Safety Regulations (Directive 01/2015) issued by then Director of
Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore. Directive 01/2015 ensures CASA justifies
regulatory change on the basis of safety risk and does not impose unnecessary
costs on, or hinder participation in, aviation. Directive 01/2015 also extends
such principles to the application and administration of the Regulations.
The guiding principles include among other things:
must be shown to be necessary—that is, they are to be developed to address known
or likely safety risks that cannot be addressed effectively by non-regulatory
must not impose unnecessary costs or unnecessarily hinder levels of
participation in aviation and its capacity for growth
will align its Regulations with international standards and practices that
effectively address identified safety risks in the most cost-effective manner
must consult appropriately with industry in an open and transparent manner.
The proposed amendment is also consistent with the
of Expectations for the Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for the
Period 15 July 2019 to 30 June 2021 which states that the Minister expects
CASA to continue to approach its regulator philosophy with:
focus on aviation safety as the highest priority
of the economic and cost impact on individuals, businesses and the community in
the development and finalisation of new or amended regulatory changes and
pragmatic, practical and proportionate approach to regulation as it applies to
different industry sectors.
Standing Committee for Selection of Bills
The Senate Standing Committee for Selection of Bills deferred
consideration of the Bill to its next meeting.
Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills
The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills
has not yet considered the Bill; however the Committee had no comment on the
Compatibility with Human Rights
As required under Part 3 of the Human Rights
(Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), the Government has assessed the
Bill’s compatibility with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared
in the international instruments listed in section 3 of that Act. The
Government considers that the Bill is compatible as it promotes the right to
effective remedy in Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and
Joint Committee on Human Rights
Although the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights
has not yet reported on the Bill, it considered that the first Bill, which was
in identical terms, did not raise human rights concerns.
position of non-government parties/independents
The Australian Labor Party (Labor) supported the first
Bill in the House of Representatives. In his second reading speech, then Shadow
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony
Albanese expressed Labor’s bipartisan support for the first Bill but considered
that the Bill did not go far enough:
Of course, there is no margin for error when it comes to
aviation safety. It's that simple. Another responsibility of the parliament is,
of course, the need to avoid unnecessary red tape getting in the way of
business activity. Business drives economic growth. It creates jobs and
supports our standard of living. Aviation is an important business,
particularly in regional communities. What this legislation does is go to the
issue of general aviation. There has been a lot of concern from operators of
general aviation about the regulatory burden that is placed upon them...
What we've tried to do is to move forward the agenda. This
bill before us, as I said, is in my view not perfect, but I'm not going to
allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good and the practical, which is why I
have supported this legislation.
In a media release in April 2018 Centre Alliance Senator, Rex
Patrick expressed his concern with the current regulatory environment stating
that he was ‘in absolute agreement with Dick Smith on this - we have to have a
more pragmatic approach’:
Other jurisdictions provide a safe operating framework whilst
having regard to the need for a healthy industry. We can and must do something
here to arrest the decline in General Aviation - it’s a critical part of
services to the regional areas.
Senator Patrick has also made similar remarks about the
regulatory environment in response to changes made by a legislative instrument
which increased the conditions relating to community service flights for
medical patients. In this respect, both Senator Patrick and fellow Centre
Alliance representative Rebekha Sharkie moved disallowance motions in each
In a press release, Senator Patrick stated:
CASA is an organisation that sadly seems to pride itself in
the amount of regulation it imposes on pilots and aircraft operators, rather
than working in partnership with industry to achieve safety outcomes... This
red-tape growth has served to kill off general aviation over the past decade.
General aviation is an essential service for regional and remote areas and is
the breeding ground for airline pilots.
Bob Katter also moved to disallow the legislative
instrument relating to community service flights. In a press release relating
to the instrument, he was highly critical of CASA’s approach to safety
major interest groups
Resolutions arising out of the Aviation Summit together with the following
statement in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill would indicate that the
proposed change is generally supported by the aviation industry:
Consultation was undertaken with the General Aviation
Advisory Group, the Australian Airports Association, the Board of Airline
Representatives Australia, Qantas and Virgin between November and December
2018. No concerns were raised regarding the intent of the changes.
In relation to the first Bill, Regional Express Chief
Operating Officer Neville Howell said:
This amendment to the Civil Aviation Act is strongly
supported by Rex and closely mirrors the guiding principles espoused in CASA’s
Directive 01/2015, which states among other things, that aviation safety
regulations must ‘be shown to be necessary’, ‘address known or likely safety
risks’ and that ‘every proposed regulation must be assessed against the
contribution it will make to aviation safety’.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the Bill ‘is not
expected to have significant financial impact’ on the Commonwealth.
House of Representatives, ‘Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019’, Votes
and proceedings, 165, 3 April 2019, p. 2176.
Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), ‘Important
air safety alert: the destruction of the general aviation and flight training
industry in Australia’, Dick Smith Wagga address April 26 2018, AOPA
website, May 2018, p. 16; A Lewis, ‘Aviation
icon Dick Smith to speak in Wagga on industry reform’ Daily Advertiser,
25 April 2018.
affair “sank aviation reform"’, The Australian, 14 March 2018,
Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA), ‘General
Aviation Summit 2018 – Wagga Wagga’, SAAA website. The AGAA was established
in January 2018 by industry bodies Aircraft
Owners and Pilots Association of Australia, Aviation
Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association Inc. and SAAA; see Australian General Aviation Alliance
(AGAA), ‘“Promoting and Protecting your Freedom
to Fly”’, AGAA website.
Sport Aircraft Association of Australia and Aviation Maintenance Repair and
Overhaul Business Association Inc., ‘Summit
Resolutions: General Aviation Summit 2018-Update to the Civil Aviation Act’,
held at Wagga Wagga 9–10 July 2018, Letter to Michael McCormack Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport), 17 July 2018,
pp. 2 and 9.
. Civil Aviation Act
1988, section 3A.
Aviation Act, paragraph 9(1)(a) and (b); Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Civil Aviation Safety Authority’, CASA website.
Aviation Act, paragraph 9(1)(c).
Aviation Act, section 3, definition of ‘aviation safety standards’.
Aviation Act, subsections 9A(1) and (2).
. CASA, ‘Our
regulatory philosophy’, CASA website, last modified 23 June 2019.
and Application of Risk- Based and Cost- Effective Aviation Safety Regulations,
Directive 01/2015, issue 2, 28 January 2016, p. 1.
. Statement of
Expectations for the Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for the
Period 15 July 2019 to 30 June 2021, section 3. Note also, this is
consistent with the Minister’s Statement of
Expectations for the Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for the
Period 27 March 2017 to 30 June 2019 (no longer in force), clause 3.
Standing Committee for the Selection of Bills, Report,
2, 2019, The Senate, 4 July 2019, p. 3.
Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, Scrutiny digest,
2, 2019, The Senate, 28 March 2019, p. 75.
Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights can be found at page 3 of the Explanatory
Memorandum to the Bill.
Joint Committee on Human Rights, Human
rights scrutiny report, 2, 2019, 2 April 2019, p. 169.
reading speech: Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019’, House of
Representatives, Debates, 3 April 2019, p. 14596.
turbulence exacerbates general aviation's bumpy ride, media
release, 12 April 2018.
141, 2 April 2019, p. 4780; R Sharkie, ‘Notices’,
House of Representatives, Debates, 18 February 2019, p. 13767.
Alliance moves to stop Angel Flights wings being clipped: disallowance motions
to be lodged to protect community service flights, media release, 17
House of Representatives, Debates, 21 February 2019, p. 14389; Katter’s
Australian Party, Katter
shoots downs CASA overhaul that could kill Angel Flight, media release,
29 January 2019.
Memorandum, Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019, p. 2.
express welcomes Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019, media release, 28
Memorandum, Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019, p. 2.
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