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Senate To Probe Drone Operations

The Australian Senate has set up an inquiry into future operation of drones in Australia, with some members claiming the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) may have not paid enough attention to the issues when recently announcing changes to the laws regulating drone use in Australia.

Barry O’Sullivan, a Liberal National Party senator and deputy chairman of the rural, regional affairs and transport references committee, said Coalition, Labor and some crossbenchers are interested in pursuing issues including air safety and the role drones can play in industries such as agriculture.

O’Sullivam said the committee aimed to ensure that drones are properly regulated and able to perform commercial activities, like the delivery of goods to consumers, without raising safety concerns.

Under changes brought in last month, commercial operators of drones weighing less than 2kg do not need to apply for a licence from CASA.

Senator O’Sullivan said many members of the committee believe CASA “may not have paid enough attention to detail” in making its changes.

“I don’t want to get to be an alarmist,” Senator O’Sullivan told The Australian, “but there’s a security risk. Imagine being able to take a drone, and you’re on a seven-storey building, 500m from (Brisbane’s) Suncorp Stadium and you can deliver a payload into a crowd of 80,000 people.”

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