High-level panel to probe Australian air safety regulatory framework

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Australia has announced a high-level panel to undertake a wide-ranging review of aviation safety regulation in the country.

The review will be led by three aviation safety experts supported by specialist advisors and the panel is expected to submit a report in May 2014, said deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and regional development Warren Truss in a statement.

Australia has an enviable record in aviation safety — among the best in the world — which has been built on a strong regulatory system, forged over many years,” says Truss. “Now is the right time to reassess how our safety regulatory system is placed in dealing with this dynamic and evolving sector. The independent review reinforces the Government's commitment to maintaining safety as the highest priority in aviation.”

Truss adds that “aviation activity” in Australia will double in the next 20 years.

The panel will investigate the agencies involved in aviation safety, the interplay of these agencies, the suitability of Australia’s aviation regulatory regime compared with other countries, and “other safety related matters.”

The panel will come up with recommendations and outline areas for improvement.

The panel will be chaired by David Forsyth, an independent industry consultant who spent 30 years with Qantas Airways earlier in his career.

The other two panel members are Canadian national Don Spruston, the former director general of civil aviation at Transport Canada and British national Roger Whitefield, who worked for British Airways as a pilot for 30 years and has held a number of regulatory and operational roles in the industry.