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Senate Inquiry into CASA.

Old 3rd Jun 2008, 23:41
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Senate Inquiry into CASA.

Inquiry into the Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and related matters


Terms of Reference
On 29 May 2008, the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport resolved, under Standing Order 25(2)(b), to conduct a formal inquiry into the administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and related matters. The proposed reporting date is 9 July 2008.

Noting the Government's announced intention to release a National Aviation Policy Green Paper in the latter half of 2008 and the importance of maintaining Australia's strong aviation safety record, the committee will conduct an inquiry into the administration of CASA and related matters:

to assess the effectiveness of administrative reforms undertaken by CASA's management since 2003;
  • to examine the effectiveness of CASA's governance structure; and
  • to consider ways to strengthen CASA's relations with industry and ensure CASA meets community expectations of a firm safety regulator.
The committee invites written submissions, which should be lodged by Monday, 30 June 2008, to:

The Secretary
Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
This could be the most important aviation related inquiry in over 20 years!

Submissions - not questions - must be forwarded in respect to:
  • Twenty years so far to re-write the CARs and the appropriateness of what has been achieved.
  • CASA's relationship with other Authorities, ATSB and AsA and the aviation industry.
  • CASA's "administrative actions" and it's ethics as a litigant and/or participation in Court processes.

And numerous other issues over the past years which have affected and diminished CASAs capacity to efficiently and safely regulate aviation in Australia.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 00:33
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Air Ace........

It sure will be an important aviation-related enquiry, but the first stumbling block is going to be who is going to define what the community expectations are with respect to CASA being a:

...firm safety regulator


More so, when (and IF) the Standing Committee considers:

- Twenty years so far to re-write the CARs and the appropriateness of what has been achieved.
- CASA's relationship with other Authorities, ATSB and AsA and the aviation industry.
- CASA's "administrative actions" and it's ethics as a litigant and/or participation in Court processes.
I guess that the Standing Committee should probably consider having a bit of a look at the tactics that have been displayed by our firm safety regulator in the Senate Estimates proccesses over the years as well, just for good measure.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 01:48
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It was Joh that once said: "Never hold an inquiry unless you first know the outcome." It was also his last (Fitzgerald) inquiry that got him.

I too noticed a few "controls and restrictions" in the Terms of Reference which may restrict the Committee's findings - particularly as the Minister's office appears to be members of the CASA Fan Club - however, the terms of reference are also broad enough to ensure they will consider and publish all reasonable submissions.

I am an advocate of a firm, strong, open and accountable aviation regulator. Fortunately, I've been around long enough to remember the last one - called DCA!

The concern is that if the Senate Committee accepted this gobble gook......
Mr Byron—I anticipate we would start sending some of them from about the middle of this year. I do not see this delaying the overall program excessively. We have an action item to develop a plan to forward to the minister about when we plan to have them to the minister, and I assume that plan would be done in the next couple of months. I would be hopeful that it would not be long after early 2006 that most of the draft rules are delivered to the minister.
on February 14, 2005, they will accept anything?

I think Mr Byron was indicating that the draft CARs would be delivered to the Minister's office over two years ago?

Did Mr Byron intentionally mislead the Senate Committee?

Last edited by Air Ace; 4th Jun 2008 at 01:59.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 03:04
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Justice at last ?

What can I say, other than,

BRING IT ON !!
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 03:46
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Unhappy Quo Vadis?

Geez Air Ace.........

If you remember DCA then you'd obviously remember what it was like in the good old days BEFORE parliament passed the Civil Aviation Amendment Act 2003 in early 2003 to supposedly provide us with the benefits of giving CASA:

1. a greater range of enforcement tools;
2. greater accountability for the making of its decisions; and
3. greater impartiality in decision making by making some of its powers subject to an order of a court.

The bureaucrats in Canberra, having realised that the old system wasn't broken, insisted that it needed fixing, so after a lot of changes, we ended up with the CEO of CASA announcing on 25th November 2003 that:

“I wish to see CASA demonstrate world's best practice in the area of aviation safety regulation. In its daily dealings, CASA must exhibit those behavioural attributes of a good regulator including consistency, accountability, fairness, flexibility and efficiency. The CASA reform process must be taken forward to achieve the Government's aim of a simple-to-follow regulatory system and a new and improved organisational culture. These objectives must be accompanied by explicit benchmarks and a capacity within CASA to demonstrate in a measurable and accountable way how and when these objectives will be met.”
Really?

I certainly hope that the proposed Standing Committee can sort it all out, because after 5 years I'm buggered if I know exactly what those explicit benchmarks are that the CEO referred to, or how CASA has demonstrated in a measurable AND accountable way how and when those objectives are ever going to be met.

Last edited by SIUYA; 4th Jun 2008 at 03:51. Reason: Quo Vadis?
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 03:50
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Very interesting times indeed.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 04:48
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Senator the Hon Jan McLucas
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing
Labor Senator for Queensland

080604 MR LR CASA Inq

Media Release

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Queensland Labor Senator Jan McLucas has welcomed a decision to hold a Senate inquiry into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The inquiry is aimed at assessing the effectiveness of administrative reforms undertaken by CASA since 2003, examining the effectiveness of CASA’s governance structure and considering ways to strengthen CASA’s relations with industry and ensuring CASA meets community expectations of a firm safety regulator.

“The safety of the travelling public is the Government’s highest priority, and the Senate Inquiry is an opportunity to have a good look at CASA's governance structures and CASA's relationship with industry and the community,” Senator McLucas said.

“In particular, the inquiry will provide an opportunity for the families of the victims of the Lockhart River crash in 2005 to put their views about ways of improving CASA directly to the Federal Government.

“On behalf of the Lockhart River families, I have consistently called for such an inquiry into CASA while Labor was in Opposition, and I am pleased to say that we have kept faith with those families in Government.

“The experience of the Lockhart River families will provide valuable information for the Senate Committee and the Government as we look to improve air safety and CASA.”

Submissions should be lodged by June 30, and the reporting date is July 9. Inquiry details are available on the Senate web site at: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committ...casa/index.htm

Contact: Mark Davis 0417-684-096

MacDonnells Law Building
Cnr Shields & Grafton Streets
PO Box 2733
Cairns 4870
Queensland

Tel: (07) 4031 6009
Toll Free: 1300 301 959
Fax: (07) 4031 6167
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.janmclucas.net
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 04:56
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In particular, the inquiry will provide an opportunity for the families of the victims of the Lockhart River crash in 2005 to put their views about ways of improving CASA directly to the Federal Government.

“On behalf of the Lockhart River families, I have consistently called for such an inquiry into CASA while Labor was in Opposition, and I am pleased to say that we have kept faith with those families in Government.

“The experience of the Lockhart River families will provide valuable information for the Senate Committee and the Government as we look to improve air safety and CASA
.”


Indeed, we do live in very interesting times, Flyingblind!
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 06:50
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What’s the inquiry going to find out, that the Committee or its members haven’t already been told?

What is the government realistically going to do in response to the outcomes of the inquiry?

I mean realistically?
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 06:58
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It is not what they find out that matters, it is what they do to change the culture going forward that matters, or what power they have to effect change.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 07:08
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Creampuff..........

What’s the inquiry going to find out, that the Committee or its members haven’t already been told?
I'm really not too sure. But if, as Air Ace says, "Never hold an inquiry unless you first know the outcome."then perhaps the Committee and its members already know that the new regulatory system IS broken and that it seems to many industry participants that at this point its beyond repair.

We can only hope so, and that they surprise us all by deciding to do something meaningful to remedy the situation. However, given the past inertia at achieving any real progress or reform, then the answer to your question:

What is the government realistically going to do in response to the outcomes of the inquiry?
is realistically, and unfortunately, probably going to be NOTHNG!
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 10:15
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Thumbs up

OK Justiceseeker..............

I'll go along with that, but how for something entirely different we have a PPRuNe plebiscite on the issue to tell the politicians and bureaucrats just how(pissed of) we feel?

That is, a PPRuNe forum that allows expression (within reason) about what's REALLY PISSES YOU OFF about CASA, and constructive suggestions on how to fix-up what's f*cked-up?

Usual caveats re Mods accepting/scrubbing acceptable/unacceptable comment to stand. Close of submissions 20th June, collated PPRuNe submissionto the good committee by c.o.b June 30 (per 10000's post).........

Any takers?

And NO, sorry, but I can't do the organising due to other 'priorities'.

SIUYA
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 10:37
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Just in Time

The ALP wanted an inquiry into CASA for ages when in opposition. By my guess they have called this one just in time so that they can't be tarred with any dirt that is turned up now that they are in government!!

Re the mention of 2003 in the TOR.... when was Mr Byron appointed as CEO?
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 10:42
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When was the CASA Board abolished, justapplhere?

You were paying attention at the time, weren't you?
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 18:23
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FOUND ON CRIKEY'S WEBSITE YESTERDAY.

(for myself, entirely in favour of a plebiscite of pruners, BUT what worth is a poll or petition without real names?)


3 . Government launches inquiry into CASA. Why?

Ben Sandilands writes:

Seething anger by the relatives of the victims of the 7 May 2005 crash of a Transair flight at North Queensland's Lockhart River lies at the heart of the snap inquiry into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority sprung by the government this morning. But it will almost certainly go much further.

The terms of reference and reporting date of 9 July for the Senate Inquiry will not have caught the aggrieved parties by surprise, who have pushed hard for an investigation ever since they were confronted by an inquest by Queensland Coroner, Michael Barnes, in which he was ably assisted by Ian Harvey QC who is CASA's leading counsel in many legal matters.

That inquest failed to deal with the core concerns of the families of the 15 people who died when a pilot CASA admitted knowing was incompetent slammed the turbo-prop into a hill in driving rain.

CASA chief executive officer Bruce Byron was subsequently grilled by a Senate Committee last year over the regulator's inaction over the unsafe operations of the subsequently defunct indigenous community air operator Transair, including his failure to keep the public informed.

Byron went on to release a document in which he argued that CASA's role was to encourage air operators to be safe as distinct from enforcing the rules and performing the duties that are the regulator's obligations under the act.

However Byron's tenure at CASA has been blighted by a series of questionable decisions, including allowing Jetstar to self-investigate what turned out to be an incompetent missed approach to Melbourne Airport last July in fog, in which neither the pilots nor the airline showed any understanding of the gravity of the situation.

That particular Jetstar incident become the focus of a current investigation by the ATSB two months after the event, following an expose in Crikey and the on-line newsletter of Aviation Business magazine.

The CASA inquiry comes at a time when airlines world wide are turning to the costs of compliance with safety regulations including pilot duty and rest hours in an attempt to cut costs in markets where some are expected to go broke.

However, the difference between Australia and to a degree the US, and the EU, is that there is no countervailing and pedantic enforcement of the safety rules, nor any significant risk of sudden audits or inspections by the safety regulator itself.

Will CASA be asked to do its job, and do it transparently? That is the real issue that the proponents of this inquiry hope to get answered in the affirmative.

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Old 4th Jun 2008, 20:18
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So, I guess CASA will soon be changing its name again so they can all point and say "Oh no that's not us, that's the former organization known as CASA!
We're totally different."

Ho Hum, seen it all before.

Last edited by Peter Fanelli; 4th Jun 2008 at 21:19.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 20:46
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Can't do much when the resources aren't there to do it. The CASA has been underfunded and understaffed for years now and employees are encouraged to continually reduce costs. It seems to me that if and when the CASA managers have a situation that should warrant further action, the CASA "system" rewards the manager who can duck-shove the responsibility to another area; be that the operator, ATSB, AsA or whomever. Actions stymied by political intervention have weathered the desire for effective regulation. The CASA has a moderate to severe case of Regulatory Impotence born from an encouraged timidity towards enforcement. The organisation has leaned from a regulator to an administrator, and perhaps a description as a political scapegoat might not be too much of a stretch.

In my opinion, the CASA needs:
1. A clear course of action and direction supported by the Minister.
2. A commitment to appropriate funding.
3. Priority on incorporating a clear, workable set of industry regulations that minimise duplication, conflict and complexity (stolen, borrowed or invented).
4. A mechanism for high-level internal review, supplemented by occasional, and regular, external reviews on enforcement and regulatory actions (or lack thereof).

A thorough review process of the CASA is warranted and necessary. CASA has become an organisation primarily of economic accountability and not one of community accountability. Where would I lay the blame? Not so much within the organisation as with the political oversight, which I believe needs the most attention.

considering ways to strengthen CASA’s relations with industry and ensuring CASA meets community expectations of a firm safety regulator
Jan McLucas is on the right track. The organisation doesn't need to be torn apart. It needs to be made stronger with knowledgeable and effective oversight and review, minus the political meddling. In my opinion, strengthen the CASA and the industry will reap the rewards.

Last edited by Lodown; 4th Jun 2008 at 22:24.
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Old 4th Jun 2008, 22:19
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Lodown

CASA's charter isn't too bad, just needs to be implemented.

Legal Services have a lot to answer for, and probably will.

CASA aims to be a model litigant.

Really? Troll through AAT transcripts, you may just find that they prefer to be a malicious, aggressive, vindictive and dishonest litigant.

Fair and transparent processes. Really?

What went on at the now sanitized (to some degree) Nth Qld Area Office was in fact criminal, and will be eventually exposed as such.

There are other area offices who will have egg on their faces in a proper, thorough and independant investigation.

Regrettably, Lockhart River, Australia's greatest aviation tragedy in 40 years, is the trigger for this, and how CASA conducted itself in the light
of ATSB finding them wanting.

There are many who have some evidence of the Inquest being stage managed,
this too will come to light.

Its time for CASA to conduct its business at the same calibre as ATSB, something the Miller report failed to grasp.

The Miller report is as close to the money as the Skehill report, which found no basis for allegations of misconduct in CASA Townsville,

sadly, history now reveals just how sordid and disgusting was the conduct of many CASA staff in that office.

Again, NQAO was not alone in the misconduct stakes, so far the only one to be reasonably effectively purged.

The terms of reference are broad, that is good,
but it must lead to a Judicial Inquiry so that the offenders can face a Judge or Magistrate,
depending on the severity of their misconduct.

Otherwise, as predicted, the realistic outcome will be nothing.

And Creamy, before you jump in defending the indefensible, maybe it was ethical when you left, that's a while ago now.

Understand that all is not as it seems, or as it should be, there are a lot of matters that, when properly aired, may or may not surprise you.
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 02:16
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I doubt that there are many revelations that could surprise me any more.

The only revelation that would really surprise me is if the underlying causes of all of the terrible sins to which you constantly allude, Mainframe, turned out to be attributable to anything other than pressures, constraints and people imposed upon the regulator by politicians, for reasons that have little or nothing to do with aviation safety.
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Old 5th Jun 2008, 02:23
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Lodown you are spot on mate. Casa needs the resources and support to ENFORCE its Regulatory responsibilities. To often we have seen CASA take all too easy approach to dodgy operators. I would like to see CASA take a much more pro-active role in enforcement. I dont blame the hard working CASA staff as most seem to have their hands tied by upper management . No one who is doing the right thing needs to fear CASA.
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