Chapter 2: Overview—Roles and Responsibilities

Airservices Australia—Airservices
Department of Defence—Defence
Civil Aviation Safety Authority—CASA
Australian Transport Safety Bureau—ATSB
Bureau of Meteorology—BOM
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development—the Department
Coordinating/Consultation Forums

ATM in Australia is carried out through a collaborative arrangement between a number of Government agencies and the aviation industry.

The Australian ATM system includes:

  • communications and navigation, which is undertaken by a range of aircraft operators, on instruction from air navigation service providers in ICAO airspace Classes A to G;
  • air and ground traffic surveillance, undertaken by Airservices Australia (Airservices) and the Department of Defence (Defence) through the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF);
  • meteorological information primarily provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM);
  • safety regulation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Defence;
  • efficient management of on-ground operations by airport operators;
  • the timely and reliable exchange of information between all participants;
  • the designation of prohibited, restricted and danger areas for accommodating activities that may be incompatible with routine flying operations; and
  • the safe and efficient management of airspace and air traffic flow.

Supporting Australian legislation and policy documents, which define and guide the roles and responsibilities of each participant in the Australian ATM system, are outlined in Chapter 3.

Airservices Australia—Airservices

Airservices is Australia's principal civil air navigation service provider (ANSP). The functions of Airservices are outlined in the Air Services Act 1995 and include the provision of air navigation services, aeronautical information, and aviation rescue and fire fighting services. Airservices is a government owned statutory authority, fully funded by industry through a five-year pricing agreement.

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, on behalf of the Australian Government, outlines the priorities for Airservices in a publicly available Statement of Expectations (SOE).

The Government expects that Airservices regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration in performing its functions. Additionally, as outlined in the SOE, the Government expects that Airservices will:

  • progress implementation of a new national air traffic system;
  • work with the Department, CASA and Defence in providing advice on options for enhancing the level of safety and efficiency of Australian controlled airspace, including at major regional airports;
  • work with the Department and CASA in modernising airspace protection policy;
  • assist in implementing the Government's environmental objectives; and
  • undertake effective and ongoing engagement and consultation with the community, industry and Government on the development and implementation of any significant changes to air traffic services.

Airservices works collaboratively with Australia's other ANSP, Defence, on major reforms, airspace design and procedures to ensure a harmonised, national approach to ATM. Airservices develops a corporate plan which sets out its key initiatives, including those related to ATM, over a rolling five-year period which is updated annually.

Department of Defence—Defence

Defence, primarily through the RAAF, provides air navigation services and infrastructure as well as air traffic services and rescue and firefighting services at military air bases. Defence also maintains a fleet of aircraft of comparable size to civil national carriers.

Defence, in cooperation with Airservices, manages required military airspace to meet operational and national security requirements, while safely and efficiently servicing the transit of civilian aircraft. Defence provides air traffic services for civil aircraft transiting military controlled airspace and restricted areas surrounding all airbases, as well as controlling all aircraft at joint-user airports at Darwin and Townsville and facilitating civil aviation at RAAF Base Williamtown.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is undertaking significant modernisation of its piloted and unpiloted aircraft fleet, supported by investment in its ATM platforms, which will provide significantly greater capability, endurance and range than the ADF currently possesses. This investment will facilitate the many military activities which require the integration of multiple high-cost, low-endurance aircraft into Australian airspace.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority—CASA

CASA's primary role, as outlined in the Civil Aviation Act 1988, is the safety regulation of civil aviation operations in Australia and of Australian registered aircraft operating overseas.

In fulfilling its responsibilities, CASA sets, audits and enforces safety standards, and promotes industry awareness and understanding of aviation standards and safety issues.

The Government, through the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, outlines its priorities for CASA in a publicly available SOE. These expectations reaffirm that CASA should continue to focus on aviation safety as its highest priority.

CASA is updating Australia's regulatory framework to provide safety measures that:

  • can be found in one place;
  • meet international best practice;
  • are based on lessons learned from the past;
  • are responsive to advances in global aviation;
  • are developed in close consultation with industry; and
  • provide achievable transition times to ensure industry is well placed to meet the new standards.

CASA's priorities regarding ATM are:

  • the development of standards, rules and operational concepts for ATM technologies and procedures as appropriate;
  • the use of safety and risk assessment approaches;
  • meeting ICAO ATM SARPs (with any differences appropriately lodged) and international harmonisation; and
  • training and education of CASA staff and industry.

CASA develops a corporate plan which sets out its key initiatives, including those related to ATM, over a rolling four-year period which is updated annually.

Under the Airspace Act 2007 and Airspace Regulations 2007, CASA, through the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR), has primary responsibility for the administration and regulation of Australian-administered airspace. A significant role for the OAR is to conduct regular reviews of the appropriateness of airspace classifications, air traffic services and facilities.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau—ATSB

The ATSB is Australia's independent transport safety investigation agency.

In terms of ATM, the ATSB's investigation of aviation accidents and incidents can help identify safety issues for appropriate follow-up safety actions by Government aviation agencies and the aviation industry.

The ATSB is also involved in safety data recording, analysis and research, as well as raising safety awareness and facilitating safety action through a range of communication and education activities.

Bureau of Meteorology—BOM

The BOM operates under the Meteorology Act 1955.Under the Chicago Convention, the BOMis alsoAustralia's designated Meteorological Authority and is required to ensure that aeronautical meteorological services are provided in accordance with the Annexes to the Chicago Convention.

Weather observations, forecasts and warnings for aviation in Australia are made in accordance with the SARPs set out in Chicago Convention's Annex 3—Meteorological Service for International Civil Aviation. Any differences requiredtotailor the requirement in the Annex to the Australian environment are notified to ICAO. In fulfilling this mandate, the BOM works closely with Airservices and CASA.

Meteorological observations and/or an Aerodrome Weather Information Service (AWIS) can be provided by a third party where the Director of Meteorology (or someone approved by CASA) has given approval under Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR)120. Apart from the BOM, there are currently a number of third party service providers authorised to supply, install, maintain and/or operate an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) and AWIS in Australia to standards required by the Meteorological Authority for use by aviation.

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development—the Department

The Department provides policy advice to the Government in relation to airspace and air traffic management matters, including advice on Airservices and CASA's strategic direction, their planning, financial and operational performance, and their governance frameworks.

The Department prepares, in consultation with other Government aviation agencies, industry and the community, the Australian Airspace Policy Statement for approval by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport. The Department chairs the Aviation Policy Group (APG) and Aviation Implementation Group (AIG), which are Government aviation agency coordination forums on airspace and ATM matters, amongst other aviation issues.


The aviation industry, including aircraft and aerodrome operators, also plays key roles in Australia's ATM system.

These roles include providing safe, efficient and cost effective aircraft operations, investment in air navigation and communications systems and equipment (which increasingly relies on satellite-based technology) and the attraction, training and retaining of skilled personnel.

Aerodrome operators also support ATM through investment in ground-based systems which enhance the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations.

To ensure a fully effective and efficient ATM system it is important that industry and Government work collaboratively to provide the necessary standards, services, facilities, equipment and specialised personnel to meet Australia's future ATM requirements.

Coordinating/Consultation Forums

Aviation Policy Group (APG) and Aviation Implementation Group (AIG)

The APG brings together the Secretary of the Department (Chair), the Chief Executive Officer of Airservices, the Chief Executive Officer of CASA and the Chief of Air Force to provide a forum for effective inter-agency policy coordination and consultation on aviation-related issues including airspace and ATM.

The APG is not a decision making group as each individual agency retains their respective legislative and regulatory responsibilities and authority.

The AIG is a working group of senior officials from each APG agency. It is responsible for coordinating and following up issues identified by the APG including preparing coordinated advice and reports back to APG for consideration.

The APG and AIG also take advice and input from other Government and industry organisations, including the ATSB, the BOM and the Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group (ASTRA).

Australian Civil-Military Air Traffic Management Committee—AC-MAC

Airservices and Defence have established the AC-MAC as a harmonisation forum to oversee synchronisation and collaboration of Australia's civil and military ATM and aviation rescue and firefighting services, including their enabling facilities and infrastructure.

Airspace and Infrastructure Users Group

The Airspace and Infrastructure Users Group is a joint CASA/aviation community forum for the development of regulations and standards pertaining to airspace, air traffic control, communications/navigation/surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) and aerodromes.

The Group provides advice to CASA on the Airspace Regulations 2007 and the following Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 1998 (CASR) Parts:

Part 65—Air traffic services licensing;
Part 139—Aerodromes and aviation rescue and fire fighting;
Part 143—Air traffic services training providers;
Part 171—Aeronautical telecommunication service and radio navigation service providers;
Part 172—Air traffic services providers;
Part 173—Instrument flight procedure design; and
Part 175—Aeronautical information management.

Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group—ASTRA

ASTRA is the peak industry advisory body dedicated to participation in the development of an optimum ATM system for Australia. It comprises industry stakeholders including representatives of aircraft and airport operators from a range of industry sectors, staff associations, Airservices and observers from other Government agencies.

ASTRA facilitates industry consideration of a range of aviation issues and provides a forum to help develop coordinated industry advice on ATM issues for APG and AIG.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Consultations

The BOM undertakes regular consultation with industry through the annual BOM/Aviation Industry Consultative Meeting and associated specific working groups on a range of topics such as matters related to ATM and airspace management. Participants in these groups include Airservices, CASA, the Department, Defence and various aviation industry sectors.

Airservices and the BOM also consult regularly through the Bureau of Meteorology/ Airservices Australia Working Group. This group provides a forum for consultation and exchange of information on all aspects of aviation meteorological services and reports directly to the Bureau of Meteorology/Airservices Australia Steering Group.

The Steering Group reviews advice and recommendations from the Working Group to ensure consistent policy on all aspects of aviation meteorological services in line with ICAO requirements and Government legislation. The Steering Group also reviews and makes recommendations to their respective Executive on the ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Airservices Australia for the provision of Meteorological Services in support of Civil Aviation’.

Regional Airspace and Procedures Advisory Committees—RAPACs

RAPACs are primarily state/territory-based forums, coordinated and facilitated by CASA. RAPACs provide a forum for civil-military airspace users, Government/private aviation organisations, air navigation and communication service providers, and other stakeholders to discuss aviation matters, including airspace and procedures of regional and/or national importance.

Further information can found on the CASA website at

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