Australia's State Aviation Safety Program
Annexes 1, 6, 8, 11, 13 and 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) include the requirement for Contracting States to establish a State Safety Program (SSP), in order to achieve an acceptable level of safety in civil aviation. An SSP is a management system for the management of safety by each State.
SSPs are defined as integrated sets of regulations and activities aimed at improving safety. They include specific safety activities that must be performed by the State, together with regulations and directives to support fulfilment of the State's responsibilities concerning safe and efficient delivery of aviation activities in the State.
An SSP combines the elements of both the prescriptive and performance based approaches to the management of aviation safety and incorporates four key components:
- State safety policy and objectives;
- State safety risk management;
- State safety assurance; and
- State safety promotion.
Each SSP provides the monitoring and governance framework within which operators and service providers establish and maintain a Safety Management System (SMS). States are responsible, under the SSP, for the acceptance and oversight of service providers’ SMS.
Regulation of aviation safety relies on a broad approach that includes planning and accountability at an organisational level as well as appropriate technical standards.
Aviation operators have a primary role in ensuring safety. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has mandated that aviation operators implement satisfactory SMS’, which seek to deliver a better safety culture across the board.
Broadly defined as a systematic approach to managing safety risks, an SMS encompasses organisational structures, policies and procedures. It is based on the idea that safety is best achieved through strong interwoven systems, rather than individual processes or practices. It is also underpinned by a philosophy of mutual responsibility and accountability, rather than relying solely on regulatory compliance.
In Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is working with industry to embed an SMS culture in the aviation industry.
While much of the responsibility for implementing an SMS lies with industry, CASA recognises it must monitor and assess the effectiveness of these systems.
More broadly, the Australian Government and its agencies need to ensure the system of administering aviation safety remains coordinated and effective in managing both current and emerging risks, while accommodating growth and diversity in the industry. This is the purpose of Australia's SSP for aviation.
Australia has a comprehensive and robust safety system with highly regarded safety management and regulatory approaches. Australia's aviation safety framework involves interaction among various government agencies with identified statutory responsibilities, the aviation industry and other stakeholders, all operating in the wider context of Australia's commitments to ICAO's global focus on safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable aviation.
Australia's SSP is articulated here at a high level with reference to further, more detailed information about specific elements of the program which are the responsibilities of individual government agencies.
Australia's SSP will be reviewed and updated under the coordination of the Aviation Policy Group (APG), in consultation with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and other relevant agencies. APG brings together the agency heads of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, CASA, Airservices Australia (Airservices) and the Chief of Air Force on behalf of the Department of Defence (Defence). APG is chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, the Department of State for aviation in Australia.
This SSP is the first revision of the original SSP launched in January 2011.