As the accountable authority for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), I am pleased to present the ATSB’s 2016–17 Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2016–17 to 2019–20.

This Corporate Plan sets out the ATSB’s purpose, its strategies for achieving that purpose and how the effect of the strategies and the attainment of the ATSB’s purpose will be measured. It has been prepared consistent with paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The Plan takes account of the relevant provisions of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (the TSI Act), which establishes the ATSB. It also has regard to the views of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport on the ATSB’s strategic direction as notified under Section 12AE of the TSI Act.

The TSI Act provides that the ATSB’s primary purpose is to improve the safety of aviation, rail and marine transport through accident investigation, data analysis and safety education. It must do so independently, but in cooperation with the other organisations that share responsibility for transport safety, including counterpart organisations in other countries. Successive governments have indicated that, in carrying out its role, the ATSB should give priority to the safety of the travelling public.

To accomplish its primary objective, legislated key functions and broader portfolio responsibilities, the ATSB must take into account the financially constrained environment in which it operates. Since becoming an independent statutory authority in July 2009, the ATSB’s base appropriations have continued to reduce over successive financial years with further reductions projected over the forward estimates. Within this setting the ATSB must also remain vigilant of the opposing continued growth in, and progressive changes to, the composition of the aviation, rail and marine transport sectors.

In response, the ATSB will need to further enhance its data-driven approach to transport safety through increasing its capacity to carefully analyse available occurrence data. This will enable the ATSB to selectively allocate its limited resources towards investigating those accidents and incidents that will have the greatest potential for safety learnings and enhancement. It will also expand the ATSB’s capacity to identify emerging threats to transport safety.

The ATSB strives to maintain the people, information and systems to be a world leader in its field. This includes having the residual capability to manage an immediate and sustained response to a significant transport safety event, whether it be a major accident or, as is the current case, to undertake a major safety project such as the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The ATSB’s ability to meet this overarching responsibility will remain subject to the limitations imposed by increasingly constrained resources and growing demands.

As the recently appointed Chief Commissioner, I am fully committed to maintaining the ATSB’s reputation as a world leading safety investigation body. Consistent with this commitment, I will work collaboratively with the relevant authorities to ensure the ATSB is appropriately resourced to fulfil its legislative duties and positioned to meet the expectations of our stakeholders and the broader travelling public.

Chief Commissioner Greg HoodGreg HoodChief Commissioner31 August 2016

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