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An ICAO audit of the ATSB has reported high satisfaction with Australia's legislative, organisational and training framework for aircraft safety investigation and the professional and efficient conduct of the ATSB investigations reviewed in detail.

The audit by the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was sought by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to ensure that the ATSB met international best practice for aviation accident and incident safety investigation.

The ICAO audit team 'commended the positive and professional approach of the ATSB in proactively seeking the audit' and made a number of very positive findings.

For example, the team 'was highly satisfied with the legislative and organizational framework established by Australia and the ATSB enabling the conduct of aircraft accident and incident investigations' in particular through the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and Regulations.

The ICAO team 'commended' the ATSB's 'very comprehensive training policy and programme' and, based on the two complex accident investigations audited, found: 'despite multiple difficult circumstances in each of the investigations reviewed, the investigators appeared to have managed the investigation tasks in a professional and efficient manner, consistent with the established standards and practices of the ATSB. Furthermore & safety issues were properly addressed and the processing of reports of the investigations was generally accomplished in a timely manner'.

As expected, the audit team did make a number of recommendations for improvement including regarding documentation, memoranda of understanding, post-accident medical testing, budgeting and number of investigations, investigator training, and occurrence reporting, against which the ATSB has submitted a corrective action plan.

These recommendations are being progressed with the Minister and internally. In transmitting the audit report, ICAO stated that it was 'pleased to advise that your (the ATSB's) proposed corrective action plan was found to be fully acceptable'.

The field stage of the ICAO audit was conducted in May/June 2004 and the final audit report was transmitted this month. In the interests of transparency, the full ICAO audit report is available from the website, or from the Bureau on request.

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Last update 01 April 2011