Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 17 October 2002
Page: 5350


Senator TCHEN (9:32 AM) — I give notice that, at the giving of notices on the next day of sitting, I shall withdraw business of the Senate notice of motion No. 1 standing in my name for 11 sitting days after today relating to the disallowance of regulations Nos 65.060 and 65.270 in item 1 of schedule 1 of the Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 2), as contained in the Statute Rules 2002 No. 167 made under the Civil Aviation Act 1988. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the committee's correspondence concerning these regulations.

Leave granted.

The correspondence read as follows

Regulations 65.060 and 65.270 in item [1] of Schedule 1 of the Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No.2), Statutory Rules 2002 No. 167

22 August 2002

The Hon John Anderson MP

Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 2), Statutory Rules 2002 No. 167 and make two observations about these Regulations.

Regulation 65.060 prohibits carrying out an unauthorised flight service function. This is a strict liability offence. It is interesting to compare this with regulation 65.045 which prohibits carrying out an unauthorised air traffic control function. There is a defence to a charge under this regulation where the relevant action was reasonable in the interests of safety of aerial navigation. No comparable defence is supplied for regulation 65.060.

Secondly, paragraph 65.270(1)(d) provides that CASA may cancel or suspend a licence (etc) if the holder “appears not to have the characteristics of personality, and other psychological attributes” that are necessary to carry out the duties of an air traffic controller or flight service officer. It is not clear how this paragraph is to be applied. For example, what criteria are to be used in determining a person's personality characteristics? The Committee would appreciate some clarification of this matter.

In addition, the Committee has received correspondence concerning the regulation of civil aviation in Australia through the adoption of a Manual of Standards that is not subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The Committee notes that these Standards may be amended from time to time and seeks advice on the steps CASA takes to ensure that interested persons are aware of proposed changes and the impact they will have on them.

The Committee would appreciate your advice on these matters as soon as possible, but before 16 September 2002, to enable it to finalise its consideration of this instrument. Correspondence should be directed to the Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, Room SG 49, Parliament House, Canberra.

Yours sincerely

Tsebin Tchen

Chairman

—————

Senator Tchen

Chairman

Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Room SG 49

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

28 Sep 2002

Dear Senator Tchen

Thank you for your letter of 22 August 2002 concerning Civil Aviation Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 2) and Statutory rules 2002 No. 167.

Regulation 65.060—Carrying out of flight service function without authority

The omission of a defence to a charge of carrying out an unauthorised flight service function on the grounds the action was reasonable in the interests of the safety of aerial navigation was an oversight. This omission was not detected prior to making of the Regulation.

I agree that such a defence should be included, and undertake to amend Part 65 accordingly at the earliest opportunity.

Paragraph 65.270(1)(d)—Cancellation of licence on grounds of characteristics of personality and other psychological attributes

It is a requirement for the issue of an Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) licence that the applicant for the licence possesses characteristics of personality and other psychological attributes necessary to carry out the duties of an air traffic controller safely and efficiently.

This condition must be satisfied by the holder of the licence and paragraph 65.270(1)(d) provides the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) with a power to cancel, suspend or vary an ATC licence should its holder fail to meet this condition.

Given the broad spectrum of human psychological behaviour, it was decided not to set out an exclusive list of psychological or personality characteristics that would automatically trigger a suspension or cancellation of an air traffic service licence.

Nevertheless, regulation 65.070(2) provides that alcohol or drug abuse are relevant matters which CASA may take into account in the assessment of an application for an ATC licence, and would also therefore be relevant in the determination of cancellation action under regulation 65.270.

There are however, potentially other behaviours and characteristics, which might be of concern in a person with as critical a safety role as an air traffic controller. Examples may include depression or suicidal tendencies, or obsessive, reckless or impulsive behaviours.

On receipt of information of a licence holder exhibiting serious behavioural problems that potentially affects the safe provision of air traffic services by that person, CASA would consider initiating assessment action. Only suitably qualified personnel, such as medical examiners or clinical psychologists, would conduct such assessments.

CASA would not suspend or cancel a licence for psychological or personality reasons unless it has professional advice indicating that suspension or cancellation is necessary for aviation safety.

Procedures for amending a Manual of Standards

At the outset, I would like to assure the Committee that amendments to a Manual of Standards (MOS) will be subject to a robust consultation process with persons affected by the proposed changes.

The MOS is a CASA policy document that supports a particular regulation. It contains essential technical standards, specifications and requirements of a non-regulatory nature considered necessary for aviation safety.

CASA has established a procedure for amendments to a MOS, which is documented in the Standards Development and Rule Making Manual, Chapter 12, `Legislative Supporting Material (Procedures)', Section 12.4, `Developing/ Amending a MOS' Amendments to a MOS will be referred to the Office of Regulation Review for Regulation Impact Statement determination.

The magnitude and impact of a proposal for change to a MOS will determine the degree of consultation necessary with the various stakeholders. Generally, consultation on MOS changes will be effected using the Notice of Proposed Change (NPC) process, which will be structured in a similar manner to CASA's current Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) process.

All proposed amendments to a MOS will be exposed to the affected parties via the NPC process, with comment on any proposed changes specifically sought from:

· industry associations/organisations

· industry/aviation community

· unions

· staff

· other parties likely to be affected by the changes eg. local authorities, governments, communities etc.

Following the consultation period, all comments received will be considered by a joint CASA/industry evaluation group, disposition actions determined and the MOS duly amended.

The amended master version of the MOS will be published on CASA's website and an amendment service initiated, to ensure all holders of a paper MOS are duly informed and supplied with the changes.

In conclusion, I would like to assure the Committee that amendments to a MOS will only take place after interested persons have been made aware of proposed changes and their impacts.

Yours sincerely

(signed)

John Anderson