What a success this event was!   Almost 40 general aviation organisations attended representing close to 30,000 aviators. Stunning outcome – acknowledged as being the most significant gathering of GA organisations in decades.

SAAA is enormously proud to be one of the three founding members of AGAA – the Australian General Aviation Alliance – that hosted the event with its co-founding members AOPA and AMROBA.

Great news coming soon – other GA organisations to join AGAA. Watch this space!

Sincere thanks to the AOPA team, and in particular Ben Morgan, for an incredible effort rallying the troops. And special thanks to Geoff Breust, former Managing Director of Regional press, who acted as the independent Summit Chairman.

Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael McCormack delivered the opening address and invited the Summit to deliver to him a communique representing the outcome of the Summit. The Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP also addressed the Summit. Both gentlemen were left in no doubt as to the position general aviation is in and the resolve from the attendees to make change happen.

The objective of the Summit was to reach consensus on a number of resolutions with respect to proposed changes to the Act and Regulations. This objective was achieved as follows:


The General Aviation Summit has agreed to pass two resolutions which (1) sets out the principal findings of the summit with regard to the regulation of general aviation in Australia and (2) commits the industry to providing appropriate information and to make recommendations for action on reform as follows.

1. The General Aviation Summit concluded:

1.1 General Aviation wants to maintain or improve Australia’s aviation safety outcomes;

1.2 the General Aviation sector is of vital importance to Australia especially regional and rural Australia not only in economic terms but in social and community service provision terms;

1.3 the General Aviation sector, including the commercial elements of the sector, is overburdened with the complexity and cost flowing from the current Civil Aviation Act, Regulations and other aviation legislation;

1.4 the current regulatory regime is based on a prescriptive approach to rules and compliance. World best practice is based on Outcome Based regulation which Australia should implement immediately in accordance with DAS Directive 01/2015 and the Minister’s CASA Statement of Expectations;

1.5 the cost and complexity burdens placed on the General Aviation sector are exacerbated by the actions of Airservices and airport operators, both privatised and local government owned, by further cost impositions, operational restrictions and inappropriate infrastructure development;

1.6 the Australian economy has the opportunity to benefit from pilot and engineering training, aircraft and component maintenance and construction services flowing from the world-wide expansion of air travel and aviation activity – especially in Asia. To achieve this, we must be able to respond effectively and be liberated from over regulation; and

1.7 the attitude must be to adopt best regulatory practices in parallel with embracing safety and economic benefits of new technologies in Australian aircraft and operations. This will allow Australia to achieve its potential as an aviation leader, aviation service provider and exporter.

2. In looking to the future, the Summit further resolved to:

2.1 provide a statement of value of the General Aviation sector in Australia;

2.2 provide a statement of opportunity for the General Aviation sector in Australia;

2.3 recommend the Civil Aviation Act and other Acts associated with aviation including aviation infrastructure, be reviewed and amended to ensure implementation of Outcome Based regulation during the first term of the next government;

2.4 In the meantime, to recommend a small number of amendments to the Civil Aviation Act to immediately refocus to a less prescriptive and holistic approach to regulation for bi-partisan passage through the parliament before the next election;


Whereas the current regulatory stance adopted by CASA is out of step with contemporary regulatory practice, as adopted by The International Civil Aviation Organization through the promulgation of Annex 19, Safety Management Systems, and is contributing to the rapid decline of Australia’s general aviation industry, and
Whereas the World is facing a growing shortage of skilled aviation personnel and Australia has the opportunity to contribute to the training of these personnel in a way that can improve safety, the Aviation Summit finds that elements of the current Civil Aviation Act are not fit for purpose.

Specifically, §9A, Performance of Functions, imposes upon CASA a limitation that impedes the development of performance-based regulation and the safety benefits that would otherwise be achieved. §9A (1) requires that, in exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration and there is an urgent need to address this anomaly.

2.4.1. The Aviation Summit supports a review of the Civil Aviation Act, to include as a minimum, a repeal of §9A (1) and a replacement with the following language:
9A Performance of functions

(1) In exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must seek to achieve the highest level of safety in air navigation as well as:

(a) maintaining an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including a viable general aviation and training sector;

(b) the need for more people to benefit from civil aviation.

2.4.2. The Summit delegates support the need to amend, as soon as possible, the Object of the Civil Aviation Act and other aviation related Acts, without reducing the primacy of safety, to include an amended Object to support a sustainable and viable aviation industry;
The main objective of the Act is to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents;

In addition to this, the objects must include;

i. a strong, efficient and sustainable aviation industry;
ii. enabling more people to benefit from aviation; and
iii. emphasis on substantially reducing the administrative and financial burden of regulatory compliance.
(Note: the final wording will be decided between both the Minister and Shadow Minister.

2.4.3. The summit delegates also support the inclusion of government’s Red Tape Policy to be permanently inserted in Section 98.

2.5 recommend establishment of an Office of Aviation Industry in the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to engage and assist industry to further foster and develop aviation both domestically and internationally; and

2.6 recommend that there are a number of advances in aviation safety and amenity that can be made within the current regulations and responsibilities. The summit seeks to have an established programme to identify, prioritise and implement a programme of these changes with defined time-frames and covering CASA, ASA and Aerodrome Operators (see ANNEX 1)