From July 2019, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will require mandatory registration for all commercial drones regardless of weight and recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams.
Key changes include:
- Registration will be on an annual basis and cost approximately $20 for recreational drones and between $100 to $160 for each commercial drone.
- All drone operators without a current remote pilot licence must pass an online accreditation course.
- All drones must be registered by 1 November 2019.
These changes will be in addition to the current drone regulations which require any ‘commercial’ drone operator to be licensed and certified by CASA. A drone is deemed ‘commercial’ if any form of remuneration (for hire or reward) is provided in exchange for flying the drone.
Farmers operating drones (under 25kg) on their property have been previously exempt from CASA’s licencing requirements, but will now need to register and be accredited before 1 November 2019.
CASA’s new requirements seeks to address the ongoing drone disruptions in regulated airspaces such as airports and military bases.
Flyer data would assist Australian authorities to more effectively track drone usage in Australia and identify unauthorised drone operations.
The use of commercial drones is on the rise in Australia, notably with Google’s first food delivery service launching in Canberra.
While the current implications for the agriculture industry is limited to registrations and accreditation, the future of drone airspace regulation is likely to increase in the coming years.