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Drones Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

Part A - Introduction

(1) Use of remotely-controlled and unmanned aircrafts (often called “drones”) is becoming more common-place, including in universities for their teaching, research and other activities.

(2) The purpose of this policy is to set out the University's requirements for the use and operation of drones so as to ensure regulatory compliance, including ensuring the health, welfare, privacy and safety of the University staff, students, volunteers and members of the public.

Part B - Application

(3) This policy applies to all activities involving the operation and use of drones conducted on a University campus, regardless of whether they are operated by University staff, students, volunteers or others, including University controlled entities, contractors and members of the public.

(4) This policy also applies to the operation and use of drones for the purposes of carrying out University activities (such as research or field work) conducted outside a University campus, including internationally.

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Section 2 - Definitions and Interpretation

(5) In this policy unless the context requires otherwise:

  1. CASA means the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority which is an independent statutory body established to regulate civil aircraft operations in Australia and the operation of Australian aircraft outside Australia;
  2. Drone means a remotely-controlled or an autonomous aircraft or other air-borne device, which is often referred to as a remotely piloted aircraft or an RPA;
  3. ReOC holder means an organisation that holds a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operators Certificate and maintains a central register of approved individual flights;
  4. University approved drone pilot means a person who is approved to pilot a drone in accordance with Part F – Pre-Flight Requirements;
  5. University campus means any premises owned or under the management and control of the University.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) The University will permit the operation of drones on University campuses for legitimate University activities, subject to compliance with its procedures.

(7) The University will also grant permission for the operation of drones outside University campuses for legitimate University activities, including research and fieldwork, subject to compliance with its procedures.

(8) Drones operated on-campus and off-campus, including internationally, must be operated in accordance with relevant local laws, regulations and rules.

(9) The University may, in its absolute discretion, approve recreational use of drones or operation of drones by third parties on University campuses, in accordance with relevant local laws, regulations and rules.

(10) Any use or operation of drones except in accordance with this policy is strictly prohibited.  Non-compliance with this policy may result in legal or other action by the University.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part C - Procurement

(11) University-owned drones, regardless of size or cost, must be registered with the Finance Office and will be placed on the University's asset register. All University-owned drones will be issued with a unique registration label which must be displayed on the drone at all times.

Part D - Authorised Drone Pilot Approval Process

(12) Teaching and Research Technical Services will maintain a register of University-approved drone pilots. A person may apply to become a University-approved drone pilot by submitting the following information to Teaching and Research Technical Services:

  1. full name, and staff or student number;
  2. evidence of licence or certification as drone pilot or operator by CASA;
  3. a full description of the drone(s) to be operated;
  4. number of hours in command of the type(s) of drone(s) described in (12)c, at the time of registration;
  5. number of logged hours of flight of drone(s) at the time of registration;
  6. full details of any flying incidents, accidents or any cancellation or suspension of licence or certificate issued by CASA.

(13) The endorsed Drone Pilot Application Form will be returned to the applying pilot so that it may be included in all future ReOC and risk assessment submissions by that pilot.

Part E - Drone Operation Approval Process

(14) The University requires a Drone Operation Approval Form to be completed and submitted as part of the University's approval process. The following information must be included in the application:

  1. description of the drone operation;
  2. a risk assessment;
  3. the pilot approval form under clause (12) (if applicable); and
  4. if the pilot is not a University staff member or student, evidence of a licence or certification as drone pilot or operator by CASA and insurance cover.

(15) Approval for drone operations conducted on or outside a University campus must be sought from the Director, Teaching and Research Technical Services. The Director, Teaching and Research Technical Services will maintain a list of approved drone operations.

(16) For drone operations on a University campus, and for emergency and crisis management drone operations, the Director, Campus Safety and Security must endorse drone operation prior to approval.

(17) For University marketing or promotional purposes conducted on or outside a University campus, the Director, Marketing must be consulted prior to drone operation approval.

(18) Recreational and private use of drones on a University campus, and the use of drones for emergency and crisis management purposes, will only be approved in exceptional circumstances and assessed on a case by case basis.

(19) If the drone is to be operated indoors on a University campus, then approval is also required from the relevant University space owner.

(20) Approval to fly a drone within University land or buildings may be given with or without additional conditions as the University considers appropriate.

(21) Additional approvals, including human ethics approval or CASA approvals, may also be required, depending on the nature and scope of the activity, and whether the drone is autonomous or remotely piloted.

Part F - Pre-Flight Requirements

(22) Pilots must hold an approved drone operation application form in accordance with Part E – Drone Operation Approval Process.

(23) Outdoor use of drones for University activities is only permitted with prior approval of a ReOC holder who has entered into an agreement with the University. Indoor use of drones for University activities does not require approval from a ReOC holder.

(24) Individual outdoor drone flights must be approved in accordance with the ReOC’s Operations Manual.

(25) A refusal to approve a drone flight cannot be the subject of a complaint under the University’s Complaint Management Policy or any other internal review.

Part G - During and Post-Flight Requirements

(26) All drones must be operated strictly in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations, and any conditions of approval given under these Procedures.

(27) The drone pilot must report any incident occurring during operation of the drone in accordance with the University’s Accident, Injury, Incident, Hazard Reporting and Investigation Policy and the ReOC’s Operations Manual.  This includes without limitation:

  1. any malfunction of the drone;
  2. damage to property;
  3. injury to or death of a person.

(28) The drone pilot must also:

  1. record the flight times and details of any malfunction of, or damage or repairs to, the drone; and
  2. store the drone securely until such time as data captured during operation can be downloaded or removed.

(29) All data collected must be managed in accordance with the Records and Archives Management Policy.

Part H - Privacy and Workplace Surveillance

(30) Operation of drones within the University land or buildings might involve the capture of images of individuals.  The University is required to comply with the following laws, and has in place policies as to how it will comply with those laws:

  1. Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998; and
  2. Workplace Surveillance Act 2005.

(31) Drone pilots are prohibited from operating drones to conduct workplace surveillance or to collect, store or use personal information about individuals (including images) in breach of the University's Privacy Policy and Privacy Management Plan.

(32) For information about the University's requirements, contact the University's Privacy Officer or the Office of General Counsel.

Part I - Insurance and Liability

(33) All drones operated for legitimate University activities by University staff or students, and who are University approved drone pilots are covered by University insurances.

(34) All other drone pilots authorised to operate drones under this Policy must arrange their own insurance cover at their own cost.

Part J - Associated Information

(35) This Policy should be read in conjunction with other relevant laws and University policies, which include, but are not limited to

  1. Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998
  2. Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998
  3. Workplace Surveillance Act 2005
  4. Accident, Injury, Incident, Hazard Reporting and Investigation Policy
  5. Emergency Response Guidelines
  6. Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control Procedures
  7. Privacy Policy
  8. Privacy Management Plan
  9. Procurement Policy
  10. Records and Archives Management Policy
  11. Responsible Conduct of Research Procedures - Animal Research Ethics
  12. Risk Management Policy
  13. Health Safety and Wellbeing Policy
  14. Workplace Surveillance Policy

(36) Application form to become a University approved drone pilot, as described in clause (13).

(37) Application form for approval to operate a drone, as described in clause (14).