Regional engagement

Australia’s reputation for high quality and rigorous investigations makes us uniquely placed to assist transport safety in the Asia Pacific region, and the ATSB has an active program of regional engagement with other transport safety agencies, over and above that required by our international obligations

Providing assistance to our regional neighbours helps strengthen their transport safety capabilities and meeting their international obligations related to transport safety. As well as promoting Australia's standing in the region and upholding our broader international obligations, it is in Australia's best interests to work for stability, safety and security in the countries that are our regional neighbours.

The type of capability building support that the ATSB is able to provide includes advice and guidance related to:

  • legislation and regulations for accident notification and investigation related activities
  • investigation function/agency structure and staffing
  • investigation function/agency policy and procedures
  • training for investigators and investigation support staff
  • 'first responders' awareness training.

The ATSB carries its out regional engagement work in a way that is unbiased, open, and accountable. We work with our counterpart agencies to develop programs that are mutually beneficial and that take appropriate account of local conditions and sensitivities.

We acknowledge that sustainable capability building is a long-term process, where both the ATSB and the counterpart agency commit resources in partnership over an extended period of time.

The ATSB has specific programs of cooperation with the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) and the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Accident Investigation Commission (AIC). These activities are supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Indonesia

On March 2007, a Boeing 737 overran the runway while attempting to land at Yogyakarta airport, central Java. The accident claimed 21 lives, with others receiving serious injuries. Five of those who lost their lives were Australians. This tragic accident led to the development of the Australian Government’s Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package (ITSAP).

Under ITSAP, Australia has worked closely with the Government of Indonesia to develop a package of measures to address areas identified by Indonesia as its key transport safety priorities.

The main elements of the ATSB's contribution to ITSAP have been to deliver training and support for investigators from the ATSB's Indonesian counterpart agency, the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC). This includes the ATSB providing staff dedicated to various capacity building projects, funding ATSB training courses in Indonesia and Australia, and opportunities for aviation, marine, and rail investigators to work with their ATSB counterparts for extended periods.

Papua New Guinea

Under the Australia-PNG Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Transport Sector, the ATSB has a program of cooperation and capability building with the PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC).

Enhancing the capability of PNG to carry out aviation safety investigations in a thorough and timely manner will enable the identification of areas of safety concern, and will promote safety action by government and aviation industry organisations in PNG.

The ATSB has provided training to AIC investigators and investigation support staff, and ATSB investigators have provided on-site guiding and mentoring to AIC investigators.

Australia's international obligations under ICAO and IMO

The ATSB's program of regional engagement is in line with the philosophy and initiatives of both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The ICAO framework

The very nature of ICAO rests on the notion of international cooperation. The Chicago Convention on International Aviation was based on the ideal of promoting "cooperation between nations and peoples".

ICAO promotes cooperation between Contracting States in all matters relating to civil aviation. There is an acknowledgement that some ICAO States lack the resources to comply with ICAO standards and recommended practices on their own, and that the international community has a responsibility to assist those States to meet acceptable standards.

The IMO framework

The IMO places significant emphasis on cooperation between States. For example, the IMO has an extensive Technical Co-operation Programme which concentrates on improving the ability of developing countries to help themselves. The program concentrates on developing human resources through maritime training and similar activities.

ATSB operational benefit

Australia often needs to work cooperatively with other States in order to achieve its objectives. The ability to do this is significantly enhanced by building good relationships with the safety investigation agencies of other States, so that when an accident occurs the ATSB already has effective mechanisms in place to facilitate good communication and cooperation.