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Efficiency of the investigation of transport accidents and safety occurrences

Transport Public safety Aviation Aviation safety Maritime safety Occupational health and safety Australia

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) was established by the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) as Australia’s national transport safety investigation agency. It seeks to improve safety and public confidence in the aviation, marine and rail modes of transport through:

  • independent investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences;
  • safety data recording, analysis and research; and
  • fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action

Under the TSI Act, the ATSB focusses on the prevention of future accidents and the improvement of safety. It is not a function of the ATSB to apportion blame or provide a means for determining liability. The ATSB does not investigate for the purpose of taking administrative, regulatory or criminal action.

This topic was selected for audit as part of a series of performance audits focussing on the efficiency of entities. The audit was undertaken in the early stages of a significant organisational change program within the ATSB that is aimed at enhancing operational efficiency and effectiveness.

The objective of this audit was to examine the efficiency of the ATSB’s investigation of transport accidents and safety occurrences.

To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the following high-level criteria were adopted:

  • Has the ATSB put in place efficient processes for the investigation of transport accidents and safety occurrences?
  • How well does the ATSB’s investigation efficiency compare to its own previous performance, as well as relevant international comparator organisations?

The scope of this audit covered the ATSB’s activities and processes for the conduct of investigations. The ATSB’s operations support functions, systems and processes such as financial and workflow management were also included given the influence they have on operational efficiency.

Publication Details
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Auditor-General Report No.29 2018–19