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Australia's State Aviation Safety Programme

1. Australia's safety policy, objectives and resources

1.2 Responsibilities, accountabilities and functions

The Australian Government, through the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, sets the overall aviation policy direction. The Minister is responsible to Parliament for civil aviation matters, including safety and security.

The major agencies responsible for managing civil aviation safety in Australia are:

  • the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department);
  • the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA);
  • the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB),
  • Airservices Australia (Airservices);
  • the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA);
  • the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM); and
  • the Department of Defence (Defence).

With the exception of Defence and BOM, the organisations mentioned above are part of the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Defence falls under the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Defence, while BOM falls under the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Environment.

An overview of the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies is available at Appendix C.

Figure 1—Australia's International Aviation Safety Governance Context
[Click map to view larger image]

Coordination within Australia's aviation safety system

Overall performance of aviation safety in Australia requires a cohesive and collaborative approach which is essential in delivering the SSP.

There are a range of coordination groups that draw together the agencies responsible for aviation policy, regulation and service provision. These groups enhance cooperation and coordination across the agencies on aviation safety, efficiency and capacity issues.

Aviation Policy Group (APG)

The APG brings together the agency heads of the Department, Airservices, CASA and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) representing Defence. The APG is chaired by the Secretary of the Department and meets on a quarterly basis.

While the ATSB is not a member of the APG, noting the ATSB's status as an independent safety investigator, the ATSB Chief Commissioner is invited to brief APG on safety issues.

The APG's Terms of Reference and Forward Work Programme reflect its strategic leadership role in the continuing development and implementation of the SSP. The APG reports annually to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Aviation Implementation Group (AIG)

The AIG is a working group of senior officials comprising representatives from the Department, CASA, Airservices and Defence.

The AIG supports the APG in the implementation of cross-agency strategies and is chaired by the Executive Director of the Aviation and Airports Division in the Department.

The AIG acts as a steering group in relation to a range of matters bearing on the SSP and assists APG in its continuing development and implementation.

The AIG meets quarterly and reports to the APG on the initiatives and milestones within the SSP. AIG also provides guidance to the SSP Cross-Agency Team on SSP implementation.

SSP Cross-Agency Team (SSP-CAT)

The SSP-CAT is chaired by the Department and is made up of representatives from CASA, Airservices, ATSB, Defence, AMSA and BOM.

The Team is responsible for the development and continuing maintenance of the SSP document and for monitoring and reporting to the AIG, as well as member agencies, on SSP implementation in the Australian aviation system.

Joint Agency Aviation Safety Analysis Coordination Group (JAASACG)

The JAASACG brings together representatives from all Australian government bodies involved in the collection and analysis of aviation safety data and includes specialist safety analysis staff from ATSB, CASA, Airservices, BITRE, and the Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety. Its role is:

  • to facilitate the exchange of safety-related data and analyses between the agencies, for the sole purpose of maintaining and improving aviation safety; and
  • to identify joint safety analysis projects that utilise the combined capabilities of the joint agencies to produce outputs of aviation safety benefit.
Australian Civil-Military Air Traffic Management Committee (AC-MAC)

Airservices and Defence have established the (AC-MAC) as a harmonisation forum to oversee synchronisation and collaboration of Australia's civil and military air traffic management and aviation rescue and fire fighting services, including their enabling facilities and infrastructure. The AC-MAC reports to AIG on progress with ATM initiatives.

Memoranda of Understanding

Australia coordinates on a range of aviation safety management issues between agencies through the use of formal arrangements called memoranda of understanding (MOU). MOUs aim to ensure responsibilities and communications protocols are clearly articulated between relevant agencies. Information about other cooperative arrangements is at Appendix D.

These MOUs are outlined as follows:

ICAO Tripartite Arrangements for Australia's participation in ICAO and formation of AIG (CASA, Airservices, and the Department).
CASA / ATSB Objective is to enhance aviation safety by facilitating cooperation between the agencies while maintaining their independence and capacity to perform their separate but complementary functions.
CASA / Airservices Agreement builds on the legal framework already in place with a key objective of maximisation of beneficial aviation safety outcomes.
Airservices / ATSB Outlines the respective roles and responsibilities of, and the relationship between, Airservices and ATSB in relation to the investigation of aviation accidents and incidents and the exchange of safety information.
CASA / Defence Promotion of aviation safety and airworthiness between CASA and Defence and provides a high-level basis for cooperation on harmonisation, where practicable, of civil and military regulatory system outcomes to improve safety, efficiency, consistency and capacity.
Airservices / Defence Harmonisation of systems and services associated with the provision of civil and military ATM and aviation support systems including ARFFS.
Defence / ATSB Provides a framework to support cooperation between Defence and ATSB in the investigation of transport safety matters.
Airservices / BOM Sets out arrangements by which meteorological information is provided to Airservices and the industry, and mechanisms to maintain effective cooperation between Airservices and the BOM.
AMSA / Airservices Defines the division of responsibilities between AMSA and Airservices as key organisations contributing to the national aviation SAR system.
AMSA / ATSB Defines the roles and relationships between the parties in carrying out their respective functions of aviation SAR and accident investigations.
AMSA / ACMA Facilitates a cooperative relationship between the parties in relation to support services for SAR operations. The MOU also sets out areas of cooperation in the administration of radio communications services.

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Last Updated: 10 May, 2016