The first stage of the program, launched in 1996, was voluntary. Its initial success led the 31st Session of the ICAO Assembly (October 1998) to endorse an enhanced program and provide the necessary funding. The Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) commenced on 1 January 1999, replacing the voluntary program. The basis of the ICAO audit was the degree to which the States complied with safety related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and associated procedures laid down in three of the eighteen Annexes to the Chicago Convention: Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing), Annex 6 (Operation of Aircraft) and Annex 8 (Airworthiness of Aircraft). It was envisaged that ICAO would audit other annexes in future programs. Australia's first audit under this system took place 9–20 August 1999.
The 35th Session of the ICAO Assembly considered the proposal of the Council for the continuation and expansion of USOAP in 2005, and resolved that USOAP be expanded to cover the safety-related provisions in all safety-related Annexes (all Annexes with the exception of Annex 9 Facilitation and Annex 17 Security) and also to implement a comprehensive systems approach (CSA) for the conduct of safety oversight audits. The six-year cycle of USOAP CSA concluded at the end of 2010. In September 2007, the 36th Session of the Assembly directed the Council to examine different options for the continuation of the USOAP beyond 2010, including the feasibility of applying a new approach based on the concept of continuous monitoring.
The 37th Session of the Assembly agreed the best and most cost-effective option was the implementation of a continuous monitoring approach (CMA) and directed the Secretary-General of ICAO to begin to develop the methodology and tools required to implement a CMA, including the necessary detailed guidance to States. It also directed the Secretary-General of ICAO to provide a transition period to the CMA, in order to allow States and ICAO to gradually implement the different elements of the new approach. CMA came into effect 1 January 2013.
Under the USOAP CMA, Australia's most recent assessment was through an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM), which occurred 9–13 October 2017.
- Final Report Of The ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission In Australia PDF: 593 KB