The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the country's aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), should negotiate a new memorandum of understanding in order to improve the working relationship between the two agencies, according to an independent review.

The review, headed by Russell Miller, a senior partner in law firm Minter Ellison and founding commissioner of the International Air Services Commission, was launched last October by the former government following concerns about co-operation and co-ordination between the two bodies. These concerns were raised by the Queensland Coroner's inquest into the May 2005 crash of a Transair Fairchild Metro 23 at Lockhart River, Queensland, in which 13 passengers and two crew died. CASA was severely criticised in the ATSB's final report into the crash, with CASA rejecting a number of the ATSB's conclusions.

The new MoU should include matters such as encouraging more day-to-day interaction between the two when serious accidents and incidents occur reviewing the time allowed for CASA to respond to ATSB reports exchanging personnel between the two bodies improving co-ordination of research and education programmes and establishing a mechanism to develop common safety messages in cases where the two agencies have different views on the causes of an accident.

Source: Flight International