Australia Tweaks Enforcement Procedures

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Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced a new set of procedures last week that it says will improve its rules-enforcement system and enhance safety. The new procedures create a "fairer and more transparent system," CASA said, and will open up enforcement decisions to greater scrutiny by the courts and tribunals. CASA's new chief executive officer, Bruce Byron, says the changes will ensure the punishment fits the crime, and will enable CASA to focus on incidents that have significant safety implications. The reforms also establish a self-reporting scheme that allows pilots to admit mistakes without fear of reprisal. "Prosecution or the suspension or cancellation of certificates or licences should be reserved for serious safety problems," Byron said. "But people who deliberately operate outside the rules or who put the lives of fare-paying passengers at risk should be prosecuted and -- if necessary -- removed from the aviation industry." The key changes are: a demerit-points scheme for breaches of regulations, enforceable voluntary undertakings to ensure compliance with regulations, protection for self-reporting of inadvertent breaches, automatic stays of most suspension and cancellation decisions pending an Administrative Appeals Tribunal review, and Federal Court review of CASA decisions to suspend an authorization in cases of serious and imminent risk to air safety.