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Speech at the opening of CASA's new Brisbane office.

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Friday 14 November 2008

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It is a pleasure to be here today.

Since becoming a Minister almost 12 months ago I have been involved

in a number of exciting and important milestones for Australia’s aviation


I have announced then development of Australia’s first ever National

Aviation Policy; I have turned the first sod at Melbourne Airport’s major

upgrade; and I have helped unveil the new Qantas A380, named after

Australia’s greatest female aviator, Nancy Bird Walton. These

milestones are only part of the enormous amount of activity currently

taking place within the aviation industry.

Opening CASA’s new operational headquarters is another important

milestone. This is an exciting day for CASA because the 130 staff here

in Brisbane now have a new home in a state-of-the-art, environmentally

friendly building. Bringing the Air Transport Operations group and the

General Aviation Operations group together in Brisbane in 2006 was a

good move by Bruce Byron. It brings CASA’s front-line operational staff

closer to industry in an area experiencing rapid growth in passenger

carrying operations.

CASA has an important and complex role working with industry to

achieve good safety outcomes and setting and enforcing safety

standards. And, nothing, I repeat nothing, is as important in aviation as

safety. Safety must underpin everything the industry does. Indeed

safety will be right at the heart of the Draft National Aviation Policy or

Green Paper which will be made public shortly.

To return to today’s activities, I’d like to say that I am pleased to be here

in the company of Bruce Byron. As you all know, Bruce is soon to step

down as CEO. Bruce has been working with myself and my Department

to choose his successor, which we will announce in the near future. In

the mean time, I am delighted Bruce has agreed to continue in his

current role for a short time until the Government formally decides on

CASA’s new CEO.

I am particularly pleased to be able to publicly thank Bruce on behalf of

the Federal Government for his work. It is largely through Bruce’s efforts

that we are here today to open this new building which brings CASA’s

front line staff closer to operators. A new, environmentally friendly,

purpose-built headquarters symbolises a new and re-invigorated CASA.

Bruce has been instrumental in encouraging a more cooperative

approach to working with the aviation community to maintain and

enhance aviation safety. Bruce - Yours will be big shoes to fill.

Ladies and gentlemen, Australia has a proud reputation of having world

class transport safety agencies. You, along with the Australian

Transport Safety Bureau and Airservices Australia are recognised

internationally for your skill and expertise. It’s a point I made a few

weeks ago in Singapore when I addressed a major Asian aviation

conference. I am sure that this new operational headquarters will further

enhance CASA’s ability to make continuous improvements and ensure

air safety for all Australians.

It now gives me great pleasure to declare CASA’s new Brisbane office

officially open.