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Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998

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Bills Digest No. 101   1998-99


Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998


This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Othe r sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.




Passage History

Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998

Date Introduced:  9 December 1998

House:  House of Representatives

Portfolio:  Transport and Regional Services

Commencement:  On Royal Assent except for amendments deleting the term ‘commercial’ from the Act, or replacing the term ‘domestic commercial flight’ with ‘regulated domestic flight’, which commence on a date to be fixed by Proclamation or not longer than six months after the date of Royal Assent.  Similarly, the provisions which permit CASA to retain or destroy seized property commence on a date to be fixed by Proclamation or not later than six months after the date of Royal Assent.


To amend the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Principal Act) to ensure that it is consistent with a proposed new civil aviation regulatory framework.


As a result of reviews of aviation regulation be tween 1988 and 1991, the Civil Aviation Authority began, in 1993, a program of redrafting the legislative structure of safety regulations.  Since its establishment in 1995, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has continued the process of rewriting the entire safety regulations and associated advisory documentation.  This process currently also reflects the Government’s requirement, expressed in its policy statement Soaring into tomorrow, (1) that aviation regulations should be simple, straightforward and internationally harmonised.

Within CASA, this project has been entitled the Regulatory Framework Program.  The present legislative framework is being reviewed with the objective of replacing the current Civil Aviation Regulations and Civil Aviation Orders with new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.  The principles underlying the new regulations require that they:

  • are harmonised internationally with the US Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and the European Joint Aviation Regulations (JARs)
  • are clear, concise and understandable
  • have a safety outcome approach
  • are enforceable
  • avoid over-regulation, and
  • are consistent with the role of CASA.

Various Technical Committees and Project Teams have been tasked with identifying issues pertinent to civil aviation sa fety, commenting upon working drafts of regulations prepared by CASA and, in some instances, being involved with the development of regulatory policy options.  The operations of these groups ensure that both CASA and the industry are involved in the formulation of the regulations.

It is envisaged that the various Parts of the new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations will be phased in over the period 1999 to 2003.  Each Part will initially be issued in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to which interested parties may respond.  A Regulation Impact Statement will also be prepared prior to the commencement of any Rule.

With the advent of these new regulations, the Principal Act requires amendment to ensure it is consistent with the new regulatory structure. A number of the provisions in the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 1998 are designed to give effect to this.  Other amendments deal with property which has been seized by CASA investigators for the purpose of prosecuting alleged breaches of the Civil Aviation Act or regulations.  One amendment ( item 28 ) allows regulations to be made giving CASA broad powers to issue instruments in relation to safe navigation and the maintenance and airworthiness of aircraft.

Main Provisions

Items 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 of Schedule 1 replace the specific term ‘Civil Aviation Regulations’ with the more general term ‘regulations’.  This change will accommodate a proposal to replace the current Civil Aviation Regulations with new regulations which may be called Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.

Item 2 repeals the definition of a ‘domestic commercial flight’ and substitutes at Item 6, a definition of a ‘regulated domestic flight’.  The two definitions use the same words.  Items 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 23 are consequential amendments which delete the word ‘commercial’ or replace the term ‘domestic commercial flight’ with the term ‘regulated domestic flight’.

The effect of item 10 will be to allow alternative terms to be used in the proposed new regulations in order to describe a ‘certificate of airworthiness’.

Item 14 repeals the section which requires all applicants for Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) for aircraft to provide CASA with copies of flight manuals.  In future CASA will use section 27AC(1) of the Principal Act to request flight manuals only where a new type of aircraft is being introduced into Australia for the first time.

Item 18 expands the list of ‘key personnel’ in order to accommodate a proposal in the new regulations that certain AOC holders be required to have a safety manager with responsibility for monitoring and addressing safety issues for the company.

Items 24 and 25 deal with property seized by CASA investigators.  CASA and its officers have the power to monitor compliance with the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the regulations and to investigate possible breaches of the Act and regulations.  Section 32AH of the Principal Act gives a CASA investigator the power to seize property which may be used as evidence in a prosecution.  The property may be kept for 60 days or, provided that the prosecution has commenced within 60 days, until the completion of the proceedings. 

Item 24 inserts a new provision which enables an investigator to apply to a magistrate to allow property seized during an investigation to be retained for a further period (not exceeding 90 days) if proceedings have not be commenced within the initial 60 day time limit.

Item 25 amends the Principal Act by inserting a new provision which allows CASA to apply to a court for an order giving authority to destroy seized goods where CASA is unable to return the property or where the owner has refused to accept the goods.  Item 25 also inserts a new section so as to ensure that CASA does not breach the Constitutional prohibition on the Commonwealth acquiring property on other than just terms.

The effect of item 26 is to introduce requirements that fees prescribed by regulation are payable to CASA.  Proposed sub-sections 97AA(3) and 97AA(4) enable regulations to be made imposing a time limit on the payment of fees and penalties for late payments.

Item 28 will enable CASA to issue design rules for unusual or atypical aircraft for which design standards are not in place.  The powers are broad ranging but instruments issued by CASA under the proposed sub-section 98(5A) may be disallowed by Parliament.


1.  Soaring into tomorrow: the Coalition’s aviation policy , 13 February 1996, (Liberal Party of Australia, National Party of Australia, 1996.)


Contact Officer

Rosemary Bell

4 February 1999

Bills Digest Service

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