Twenty years of the ATSB

July 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the formation of Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Australia’s national transport safety investigator.

Twenty years of the ATSB

The ATSB was formed on 1 July 1999, with the amalgamation of the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation, the Marine Accident Investigation Unit, and non-regulatory elements of the Federal Office of Road Safety, and the establishment of a new rail safety investigation capability. The agency’s remit was to undertake independent “no blame” investigations into transport safety accidents and incidents to prevent future accidents, and to conduct transport safety research, data analysis and education.

“The ATSB is renowned internationally for its independence, technical capabilities and quality of its transport safety investigations across the aviation, rail and marine modes of transport,” said ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood.

“On the occasion of the ATSB’s 20th anniversary, I am immensely proud to be leading the organisation. I take pride in the ATSB’s world-class technical and research capabilities, but most importantly, I take great pride in the qualities and capabilities of our people.”

Today the ATSB employs a workforce of just over 100, based in the agency’s central office in Canberra plus offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Almost two-thirds are Transport Safety Investigators, who come from a range of professional backgrounds, including pilots, licenced aircraft maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers, master mariners, train drivers and human factors specialists.

Other ATSB staff work in safety reporting, corporate functions and communications.

High profile investigations undertaken by current and former ATSB Transport Safety Investigators have included:

-          The grounding of the Border Force Cutter Roebuck Bay

-          The Qantas Flight 32 Airbus A380 uncontained engine failure

-          The derailment of freight train 9T92, which was loaded with sulphuric acid

“Today the ATSB takes a multi-disciplinary teams-based approach to investigations generating world-class investigation reports,” said Commissioner Hood.

“Those world class investigations have played no small part in ensuring Australia’s transport safety record is the envy of the world.”

Looking ahead the ATSB is preparing and positioning for the changing face of transport in Australia, especially with the rising use of remotely piloted aircraft and ever increasing automation.

“The ATSB is well prepared for the changing face of transport, and looks forward to contributing to further improvements in transport safety over the next 20 years.”

Last update 02 July 2019