New laws are to be introduced that will require licences for drone pilots and registration for drones. Whilst the new laws have be mooted for some time, they were officially revealed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) this week.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is a Commonwealth government agency founded in 1995 to oversee safety in Australian airspace. CASA is responsible for the regulation of Australian aviation safety and the operation of Australian aircraft overseas. It is also responsible for licensing of pilots, registration of aircraft, overseeing aviation safety and promoting safety awareness.
CASA has investigative powers in relation to a number of criminal offences under federal law. Prosecutions arising from CASA criminal investigations are conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. The Commonwealth DPP conducts criminal prosecutions for a number of Commonwealth agencies including the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Border Force, Australia Post, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), Centrelink and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
CASA operates within a legislative framework made up of various statutes and subsidiary legislation including the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (Cth). As well as the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Both the Act and the Regulations contain a number of criminal offences that CASA has the power to investigate.
Anyone flying a drone weighing 250 grams or more will need to pass an online test as well as registering their drone.
The new laws will apply to recreational drone users. Popular consumer products such as the DJI Mavic and DJI Phantom will be caught by the new laws. Licencing of drones for commercial use (i.e. real estate photography) has been in force for a number of years.
Registration fees will vary depending on the type of drones and the intended use. CASA states it will cost $20 per year for recreational drones. Drone flyer information will be kept in a database to track users.
CASA says it is also working on a drone flight tracking system that will be implemented with the new laws.
The new laws will come into effect in July 2019.
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