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Australia Must Cut More Red Tape On Drones

Written by
20 January 2017

Regulators must continue efforts to cut unnecessary red tape on drone technology – including removing restrictions on flying beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) for commercial operators – according to a new research paper by free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

In The Case For Cutting Red Tape On Drones, IPA Research Fellow Darcy Allen reviews the opportunities and the current regulation of drones in Australia, before making two recommendations:

  1. Remove restrictions that prevent drone flight beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) for commercial operators. This would open up new entrepreneurial opportunities, such as deliveries.
  2. Adopt a permissionless innovation approach that enables drone innovation by default. Regulators must consciously avoid precautionarily stymying the technology based on hypothetical future harms.

“Drones are a multi-billion dollar industry and hold remarkable opportunity for Australia’s age-old industries such as mining and agriculture,” said Mr Allen.

Regulation changes by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) last year removed some license requirements on low-risk drone use for commercial purposes. The new IPA report has been submitted to a Senate Standing Committee that is examining the regulatory requirements for drones.

“CASA’s changes are a sensible trade-off between community safety and the regulatory flexibility entrepreneurs need to grow and develop the technology,” said Mr Allen.

“Australia already sits near the frontier of global drone regulation. But to make sure we build a domestic drone industry, regulators must ensure that experimentation and new business models aren’t curtailed by excessive red tape,” said Mr Allen.

A copy of the IPA’s submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport is available here.

For media and comment please contact Darcy Allen, Research Fellow, Institute of Public Affairs, on 0402 284 305, or at [email protected]

Or contact Stuart Eaton, Engagement Manager, on 0433 298 620, or at [email protected]


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