The Civil Aviation Safety Authority will be the subject of a "grassroots" federal Senate inquiry to determine the impact of its regulations on small businesses including helicopter musterers and regional charter operators.
Chairman of the federal Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Senator Susan McDonald announced the inquiry on Thursday and said she wanted to determine if changes to CASA regulations had improved outcomes for regional small businesses.
Ms McDonald, who is based in Townsville and is involved in her family's beef properties across northwest Queensland, said her constituents had repeatedly asked her what could be done to relieve the regulatory burden imposed by CASA.
"As I have traveled around, mustering contractors, general aviators, drone operators and charter operators have all raised the issue of regulatory costs and administrative burdens," she said.
"I know CASA has said that they have been involved in many high-level inquiries previously and I can assure CASA that this won't be high-level - it will very much be a grassroots inquiry."
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Senator McDonald said the inquiry would specifically assess the effectiveness of the regulations CASA had applied to general aviation over the past 10 years.
"We want to examine the relevance of the Civil Aviation Act in relation to maintaining the highest safety standards while encouraging general aviation and training," she said.
In October, the Townsville-based LNP Senator crossed the Senate floor to vote against new regulations CASA sought to impose on charity flights.
"I have spoken with participants in the general aviation industry who feel the past 10 years of rulemaking by CASA has not achieved the stated aim of balance," she said.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee will deliver interim findings in December 2020, followed by a final report in November 2021.