Minister's statement of expectations

Statement of Expectations for the ATSB
15 July 2019 to 30 June 2021


1. Overview

This instrument is the Statement of Expectations for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for the period 15 July 2019 to 30 June 2021.

This instrument commences on 15 July 2019 and expires on 30 June 2021.

This instrument puts in place a new Statement of Expectations (SOE), which serves as a notice of strategic direction to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) under section 12AE of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (the Act).

This SOE formalises the Government’s expectations concerning the operations and performance of the ATSB. 

I expect the ATSB to act in accordance with the Act and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), as well as other relevant legislation.

The ATSB should adhere to the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct.

2. Governance

I expect that the Commissioners and Chief Commissioner will continue to work to enable the effective operation of the ATSB as the national transport safety investigator.

I expect that in performing its functions, the ATSB will provide timely advice to Government when the costs of necessary investigation activities are likely to exceed established ATSB budget levels, so that consideration can be given to the need for budget supplementation.

I expect that the Chief Commissioner will keep the Secretary of my Department and me informed of the ATSB’s actions in relation to the requirements stated in this SOE and promptly advise about any events or issues that may impact on the operations of the ATSB, including through the provision of timely quarterly progress reports from the ATSB against the Corporate Plan and this SOE.

I also expect the ATSB to implement any Australian National Audit Office recommendations and continue to work towards the timely finalisation of investigations to support continuous improvement in transport safety.

3. Approach to delivering core functions

I expect the ATSB will continue to:

a)   focus on transport safety as the highest priority

b)   give priority to transport safety investigations that have the potential to deliver the  greatest public benefit through improvements to transport safety

c)   while retaining operational independence, remain an active and effective participant in the transport policy and regulatory framework, working effectively with my Department, other Government agencies including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Airservices Australia (Airservices), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), Department of Defence, and the transport industry

d)   be a global leader in transport safety investigation, research and analysis, and foster public awareness of transport safety, influencing safety action

e)   review current investigation policies and practices to ensure that the ATSB retains its reputation as a best practice safety investigation agency and its influence on the national and international safety agenda.

4. Key Initiatives

I expect the ATSB, in conducting its responsibilities as the national transport safety investigator, will focus on the following key transport initiatives:

a)   implementation of effective workforce planning, including ensuring the ATSB has the skills and expertise to meet current and emerging challenges in transport safety investigation

b)   providing for a centre of excellence for transport safety investigation including through the development of the ATSB’s partnerships with educational institutions

c)   collaborate with other countries to improve accident investigation capability, consistent with international protocols

d)   support the Government’s transport safety objectives in the Asia-Pacific region

e)   enhance its research activities into areas which provide the most significant prospects of improving transport safety for the greatest public benefit

f)   work closely with aviation, rail and maritime regulators to ensure that arrangements are in place for the appropriate sharing and use of safety information by the ATSB and each regulator, and that these arrangements are transparent to industry and consistent with a strong reporting culture

g)   work with the Department and the States and Territories to ensure the national rail safety regulation and investigation reforms provide for effective rail safety investigation through their implementation

h)   be prepared to provide input into government inquiries reviewing the ATSB’s jurisdiction across different modes of transport.

5. Stakeholder Engagement

I expect the ATSB will continue, while maintaining its independence, to:

a)   undertake effective and ongoing engagement with industry to create cooperative relationships based on a foundation of mutual understanding and respect

b)   work closely with my Department and other Government agencies, including CASA, Airservices, the Department of Defence, AMSA and ONRSR to deliver integrated and comprehensive safety advice to the Government, industry and the community.

c)   communicate with stakeholders regularly with messaging targeted through the most appropriate mediums for those stakeholders, in order to be able to influence safety action.



18 July 2019

Michael McCormack
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development


Last update 30 August 2019