Today I officially opened the new Sydney headquarters of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) which will provide our independent aviation safety regulator with enhanced facilities to oversight Australia's largest aviation market.
More people are flying in Australia than ever before, with over 55 million domestic and 28 million international passengers in the last financial year alone. This growth is forecast to continue with the Asia-Pacific expected to become the fastest growing region in the world.
What is vital for sustaining this growth is the implementation of the Federal Labor Government's highest aviation priority, safety. That is why we're providing an additional $90 million to CASA to 2014 to enhance its core surveillance and regulatory functions.
As the nation's independent aviation safety regulator, CASA has a crucial role to play in maintaining Australia's proud safety record.
These new headquarters bring together CASA staff who previously worked in separate Mascot and Bankstown offices. They will ensure a more consistent approach to the monitoring, surveillance and delivery of regulatory services.
CASA oversights a diverse and dynamic Australian aviation industry which includes major international, domestic and regional airlines, business jet operators, emergency services, charter operators, flying training schools and general aviation.
Providing CASA with more modern and centrally located facilities will assist in the Authority's ability to respond to new technological developments and the diversity of the aviation sector.
Aviation is a major Australian industry. In the last financial year alone, there were over 14,000 aircraft registered on the Australian Civil Aircraft Register. For CASA that translates into a significant regulatory task, as does the oversight of more than 80 aircraft operators from 27 different countries flying into Australia.
These new operational headquarters in Sydney will enhance CASA's ability to perform its vital aviation safety regulatory role for industry and the travelling public.