Xenophon moves to disallow Australia’s new RPAS rules

By on 19 October, 2016
Independent senator Nick Xenophon has announced a plan to disallow CASA’s new laxed drone regulations.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon has announced a plan to disallow CASA’s new laxed drone regulations.

 

Following concern that Australia’s new laxed drone regulations will lead to a spike in accidents, Independent senator Nick Xenophon has announced a plan to disallow the changes that were put in place only weeks ago.

The new laws are aimed to cut the cost and red tape around operating drones that weigh less than 2kg, opening up the industry and the skies to untrained individuals. While many applaud the changes for their support of new innovation and the aim of elevating Australia as a source of international RPAS expertise, there are just as many critics of the changes who suggest the changes are irresponsible.

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Xenophon is one of them, and when Federal Parliament resumes sittings this week he aims to set in motion a move to disallow Australia’s new laws governing the use of drones. Chief among Xenophon’s claims are that the new rules, which came into effect on ­­­­29 September 2016, are dangerous and pose a risk to aircraft around the nation.

“The fact that the Government has seen fit to cut red tape is grossly irresponsible,” Xenophon said.

“To ensure that we have some common sense and a safe approach to these drones, to at least go back to the drawing board, and at least we should look at what the United States has been doing, where drones need to be registered,” he said.

Specialist aviation lawyer, Joseph Wheeler of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, also claimed the move towards deregulation would significantly increase the risk of a crash between a drone and a plane or a helicopter.

“If we had greater safeguards to enforce the regulations when things go wrong, that would go a long way towards ensuring with the injuries that inevitably would happen, the ability for people on the ground who are injured to access compensation,” he said.

“At the moment, someone could be injured by a drone on the ground with no ability to identify the owner of that drone.”

Captain David Booth of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has agreed with Xenophon, revealing that there had already been three incidents involving a rogue drone in the landing path at Sydney airport in the past four weeks. He noted that there had been more than 150 incidents reported by pilots and air traffic controllers in the past 12 months.

 

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