‘Eyes in the Sky’ - an Australian Government inquiry into remotely piloted aircraft, air safety and privacy

Contact: Shannon O'Hara, Senior Associate; Carter Newell (Queensland, Australia)

In July 2014, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs (Committee) released their report which considered the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in Australia and the regulation of air safety and privacy associated with the use of RPAs.

 

The rapid growth of Australia’s RPA industry, and public concern about the misuse of RPAs, as cited in a 2012-2013 report by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,1 prompted the Committee to survey the emerging issues around RPA use and the adequacy of Australia’s existing regulatory framework.   The Committee did not seek submissions, but conducted a series of roundtables with invited industry participants.2 The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) were a main participant in the roundtable discussions.

In the foreword, the Committee confirmed the intention of the report is to ‘serve as a starting point to adjust current privacy and air safety regimes in response to drone use’. Six key recommendations are delivered for the Australian Government across two areas, these are discussed in turn below.

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