Senate Estimates - 2017-18.

Air Routes Inquiry recommendations? - A wet lettuce dressing.

Via the North West Star:

Quote:JUNE 8 2019 - 10:54AM

Airline Inquiry hands down nine recommendations

Derek Barry

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The Senate Inquiry meets in Cloncurry 2018.

Almost two years after it formed the Senate Inquiry committee has handed down its final report but it seems cheaper flights seem as far away as ever for people in North West Queensland.

The Inquiry into "the operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities" has handed down nine recommendations, including, wait for it, a call for another inquiry.

The first recommendation is for the federal government to direct the Productivity Commission to undertake a standalone, public inquiry into domestic airfares on routes to and between regional centres in Australia.

"The inquiry should, via a detailed economic analysis, investigate the feasibility of increasing operational subsidies and introducing other price control alternatives to address the high cost of regional airfares," the Inquiry said.

"The inquiry should consult with regional communities to determine whether additional routes should be subject to regulation."

They also recommended the Productivity Commission expand its terms of reference the economic regulation of airports, to investigate the social and economic impacts of air route supply and airfare pricing on rural, regional and remote Australia.

Other recommendations including looking at the increasing costs of security screening at regional airports, a reviewing the funding of regional and remote aerodrome infrastructure and maintenance, asking COAG to develop a nationally consistent framework for regulated routes across Australia.

The one recommendation that did actually address fare prices was also for COAG to "leverage each state's purchasing power...to expand access for regional communities to initiatives such as community and compassionate fares, particularly for 'last minute' flights".

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Hamish Griffin gives evidence to the inquiry in Cloncurry.


The committee said the framework should be developed in consultation with airlines to encourage greater transparency around the operation of such fares, and consider the feasibility of allowing residents in regional, rural and remote areas to access subsidised airfares through online purchasing.

The inquiry noted the committee received considerable evidence from the residents of Mount Isa and other regional Queensland centres.

The inquiry heard sessions in Cloncurry and Mount Isa and also heard from the major airlines including Qantas.

Cloncurry cheaper fares advocate Hamish Griffin said he was disappointed there was no recommendation for more regulated routes or capped fares.

"If I can find any positives in the findings would be additional funding for security services in regional airport which I hope would see less pass through costs to passengers and a call for some transparency in current regulated routes and the rendering process," Mr Griffin said.

"I call on the Queensland Labor Government to make public their reports on regulated routes in regional Australia."

Via the Senate:

Quote:Report

The operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities
7 June 2019

© Commonwealth of Australia 2019
ISBN 978-1-76010-979-0

View the report as a single document - (PDF 1MB)



Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600 

Phone: +61 2 6277 3511
Fax: +61 2 6277 5811
[email=rrat.sen@aph.gov.au]rrat.sen@aph.gov.au

[/email]


Quote:Recommendation 1
10.36 The committee recommends that the Australian Government direct the Productivity Commission to undertake a standalone, public inquiry into the determinants of domestic airfares on routes to and between regional centres in Australia. The inquiry should, via a detailed economic analysis, investigate the feasibility of increasing operational subsidies and introducing other price control alternatives to address the high cost of regional airfares. The inquiry should consult with regional communities to determine whether additional routes should be subject to regulation. The Productivity Commission should use its compulsory information-gathering powers to inform its investigations.

Recommendation 2
10.37 The committee recommends that the Australian Government direct the Productivity Commission to expand its terms of reference in all future reports into the economic regulation of airports, to include investigations into the social and economic impacts of air route supply and airfare pricing on rural, regional and remote Australia.

Recommendation 3
10.63 The committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the Council of Australian Governments, review the efficacy of Western Australia's Strategic Airport Asset and Financial Management Framework in 2022, in accordance with the suggestion of the Productivity Commission. The Government should assess the efficacy of the Framework and determine its suitability for application across all jurisdictions.

Recommendation 4
10.74 The committee recommends that the Australian Government complete, as a matter of priority, a financial analysis to determine the ongoing operational, maintenance and staffing costs of proposed passenger security screening enhancements at regional airports, as announced in the 2018–19 Budget. The analysis should further consider ongoing security costs at regional airports more broadly.

Recommendation 5
10.75 The committee recommends that following a financial analysis into the ongoing costs of the provision of security screening at regional airports, the Australian Government consider providing ongoing financial assistance to those regional airports which have been identified as requiring passenger security screening enhancements as part of the 2018–19 Budget, where required.

Recommendation 6
10.86 The committee recommends that over the forward estimates, the Australian Government ensure the ongoing operation and funding of the Regional Aviation Access Programme and its component programs (the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme, Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme and the Remote Aerodrome Inspection Programme).

Recommendation 7
10.87 The committee recommends that the Australian Government undertake a review into the funding of regional and remote aerodrome infrastructure and maintenance, to ascertain whether financial support to such aerodromes should be increased, and whether the current grants programs are the best means of financial assistance. Local councils, as airport operators, should be consulted as part of the review to determine the annual financial impact on councils of aerodrome operation and maintenance.

Recommendation 8
10.96 The committee recommends the Transport Ministers of the Council of Australian Governments develop a nationally consistent framework for the tender process, implementation, operation and review of regulated routes in each jurisdiction. The framework should have a particular focus on improving the overall transparency of the operation of regulated routes. In developing the framework, affected communities should be consulted, particularly in jurisdictions where regulated routes are identified as being beneficial to the provision of regional air services.

Recommendation 9
10.105 The committee recommends the Transport Ministers of the Council of Australian Governments develop a nationally consistent framework which, by leveraging each state's purchasing power, aims to expand access for regional communities to initiatives such as community and compassionate fares, particularly for 'last minute' flights. The framework, which should be developed in consultation with airlines, should encourage greater transparency around the operation of such fares, and consider the feasibility of allowing residents in regional, rural and remote areas to access subsidised airfares through online purchasing.

P9 – Comment.
 
Recommendation 10 1/2
 
The IOS committee recommends the Transport Ministers of the Council of Australian Governments take a long, hard, close look at the fantastic cost, incredible operational hurdles unbelievable amount of time required and the unrealistic ‘administrative’ costs–all sanctioned and approved by government, through the CASA of establishing ‘competition’ on the routes in question. Acknowledging that the uncertainty of gaining approval and continuance of operation is the biggest disincentive for investment in local competition.


One bureaucrat to the other bureaucrat on announcement of the 9 Senate Inquiry recommendations: "Fancy some Wet Lettuce mayo with that smashed Avo sandwich?"  - MTF...P2  Dodgy  
Reply

Old sayings.

One of the reasons ‘old sayings’ and adages are old is because they make sense; reflect truth and common – or garden sense. Since aviation kicked off one adage has stood the test of time. “To make a small fortune out of aviation – start with a large one”. Another is “If it floats, flies or fornicates – rent it”. Nonetheless, some adventurous souls still persist investing time, money and life blood into matters aeronautical; some have even made a return. The most practicable example being American ‘corporate aircraft’. Forbes (must read) have done a much better job of reporting the story than I could on a thriving business model. Sure, the aircraft costs money – lots of – but the business of American business is – business and the doing thereof.

America seems to recognise the importance of 'cost effective'; almost every small town has an airport – at least one. The town fathers realise that in order for the world to come to their village, it must have somewhere to land. Rural communities in Australia nearly all have an airfield of some description – even if it’s only task is to support the Air Ambulance (RFDS). But mostly, the money for the even the upkeep is grudged; the ever tempting developers’ and a quick buck a temptation and the endless whining of those who bought ‘cheap’ near airports about ‘noise’ a further incentive to let the airfield fight it’s own battles.

From a pure ‘business’ perspective many small communities do not have the volume of traffic to tempt established airlines to offer a direct ‘Bush to Big Smoke’ service. Anything much less than an average 60% load, each way, on a round trip is a stone cold looser for the ‘bigger’ aircraft. 10 seats, with six full is a profit. 20 seats with six passengers is unacceptable. On a purely Direct Operating Cost (DOC) basis, which is a fixed, usually ‘per hour’ basis the risks are considerable – in terms of ‘real’ (cash and no bullshit) money loss. So, air ticket cost must reflect the worst case scenario, else there’s no point in running a ‘service’. Dickens’ Mr Micawber said it best.


"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

So what to do?

There are one or two business models which, although not perfect, could resolve some of the puzzle.

In primus, an ‘investor’ must be convinced that monies invested are not only secure but will meet the minimum return negotiated – the higher the perceived risk – the higher that return must be. This, standing alone, is a considerable challenge; many pairs of boots have been worn out tramping to meetings – with ‘the money’ – with nothing to show for the effort except a cobbler's bill and disappointment to carry home. However, for the sake of the exercise – let’s say a Fairy Godmother has miraculously appeared, prepared to stump up the cash. Once the ‘deal’ is done the next question is, inevitably, “when do we start?” Enter the dragon – operational approval. You dare not move without it.

If you carefully and honestly explain the time and the cost of gaining that ‘approval’ the small cloud of dust on the far horizon will be the Fairy Godmother scampering away – cheque book firmly clutched to her bosom. Back to square one. By now you are good mates with the cobbler.

[Image: D1_76vXXcAIugGl.jpg]

At the very top of the ‘cost’ list, from your seed capital is ‘approval’. Aircraft can be purchased easily enough; crew can be found, base facilities are a small, but do’able task, the infrastructure and route support is manageable. In short – without an ‘approval’ you could be up and running within weeks of receiving seed and start up capital, breaking even within months and holding your own within a twelve month. I did say could…….

It is do’able – setting up a small air service; you need to mean it and it’s hard yakka for ‘poor bull’ but with community support and a little luck your investment will pay a small dividend. In shāʾ Allāh

So where’s the big ticket item problem? It begins and ends in the plush offices of your friendly neighbourhood CASA office. Where the very antithesis of good business practice resides and rules supreme. I’m not kidding, the ‘approval’ process is a living, breathing hell spawned daemon. A place where time has no meaning, urgency unheard of, cost a thing of another world; this after many gallons of midnight oil have been burned producing the thousands of pages demanded have been read, examined, returned for correction and returned to you – repeat at least thrice. (Three shall be the counting).



Eventually, the mountain of shelf ware gains tacit approval; the cast and crew exhausted and almost homicidal; it is then the real dragon appears. For up until now you have only shaken the filthy hand of the daemon – enter (stage right) ‘the beast’. Shall we keep the beast a secret from those who have not been initiated? “Yes” say the mob – sotto voce.

Let us leave it that – for once the endless editing and frustration of ‘on paper’ compliance is nearly done – you need to get not only operational, but jump through many fiery hoops – like trying to operate to manufacturer check list and inside aircraft certification; there are many homemade recipes for this; all subjective, without defence and – subject to whim.

So, for those in ‘the bush’ wondering why they only have a slim service on a skinny route, often subsidised; and, no competition to reduce airfares – don’t look to the government for answers; for ‘tis their approved ‘safety’ systems which rules, without check, balance or even a modicum of sanity. Competition is an unrealistic dream; that’s before the major players cut the competition’s nuts off; they can and will (with malice) sustain a loss to keep competition out of the market; with a little help from their friends.

Aye; ‘tis a wicked old world – but: then, it always was. QED.

Toot – toot.
Reply

Shee-it boatmen,

neatly abridged description of the process, but you missed then end game.

Even after running the gambit you have described and driven yourself to distraction after seeing that
glow of light at the end of the tunnel snuff out time and again, when the approving crew get changed
with a whole new set of epiphanies of what "Compliance" entails, or an operational sticking point, where to do what's asked is an obvious no no safety wise, which you must carry responsibility and liability for. No use arguing they are the self anointed experts, you must accept their direction, then pray to the god "Murphy" for redemption.

Even if you manage to remain sane or solvent long enough to get the final tick in the box, that Damocles sword of CAsA remains gently swinging above your neck and can be lowered on a whim if CAsA so desires, "Sovereign Risk" does not apply to aviation and 100% Compliance is impossible under Australian rules.


The following article in the Australian ponders the question of Excessive airfares in Australia, some of the highest in the world. It also ponders the disappearance of air services to rural towns.

I would dearly like to find a study on the cost breakdown of running an air service. Much is made of Airport charges and there are all the other parasitic entities in the trough with them, but what everyone misses is the cost of "Compliance".

Before a wheel even turns there are massive set-up costs that must be amortised, and the ongoing costs are pretty staggering. Australian maintenance rules almost double the cost of maintaining the same aircraft here as opposed to the USA, thats if you can find an engineer these days. Just what percentage of operating cost is taken up with "Compliance"? I think we would all be shocked if we found out.


Quote:Excessive airfares a blight on regions

The World Economic Forum ranked Australia the 12th-most expensive in which to fly, out of 136 countries. 



EAN HIGGINS 

NATIONAL RURAL REPORTER


 


12:00AM JUNE 10, 2019

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Airfares to regional Australia are among the highest in the world, and airlines and airports should be compelled to open their books to prove passengers are not being ripped off, a report has found.

The Senate report also found the high cost of regional flying had “a direct and detrimental effec­t on the lived experience of residents of these areas”.

The report reveals that while the government is planning to make more country airports introduce security screening, it has not done any analysis of what this would cost, and says such a study should be done with urgency.

One crossbench senator who participated in the inquiry, South Australia’s Rex Patrick, noted airlines­ had warned that routes to half the regional airports targeted for screening could become finan­cially unviable if the airports had to pay the ongoing labour and equipment costs of up to $1 million, and passed it on to airlines in airport charges.

Senator Patrick, of the Centre Alliance, said the government had blundered in failing to table legislation to extend the screening to more regional airports.

“That also means that the depart­ment never presented that cost to cabinet,” Senator Patrick told The Australian. He intends to put forward a disallowance motion­ to stop the legislation in a bid to force further consideration, and for the government to agree to fund the cost of the proposed extended passenger screening as a national security measure.

The Senate committee report has found many regional Australian airfares are astronomical.

“Despite the volume of passengers in the Australian aviation market, and the importance of commercial air travel in connecting Australians from rural and remote areas to essential services, Australia remains one of the most expensive countries in which to fly,” the report says.

The World Economic Forum ranked Australia the 12th-most expensive in which to fly, out of 136 countries. A study found the cost was $US29.39 per 100km, compared with Malaysia, the cheapest country in which to fly, where it cost $US4.18 per 100km.

“A lack of access to affordable airfares reduces the opportunities for residents to, among other things, attend family events, medical appointments, sporting events or explore and develop business opportunities,” the Senat­e committee report says.

It recommends that the govern­ment ask the Productivity Commission to use its powers to compel parties to provide financial data in “a standalone, public inquiry into the determinants of domestic airfares on routes to and between regional centres”.

The report highlights graphic examples of regional airfares so high that residents are forced to drive thousands of kilometres.

Hamish Griffin, a resident of Cloncurry, Queensland, told the inquiry for him to fly with his wife and son the 800km to Townsville would cost nearly $4800 return.

A doctor in Mount Gambier, South Australia, Richard Try, told the committee intermittent and costly air services meant specialists were less likely to travel there, and observed that a five- to six-hour car journey for ill patients could be onerous.

In one instance, because a flight was cancelled, a patient was forced to drive to Adelaide at 4am with what later turned out to be an undiagnosed life-threatening condition.

The report said the arguments between regional airports and airlines over which was responsible for high airfares was irresolvable, with airlines accusing some airports­ of monopolistic opportunism in their pricing, and airports denying it.

The committee accepted there were many inherent reasons why cost pressures were high in region­al air travel, including smaller economies of scale.

It said it “could not form the view that there was ‘price gouging’ or other market manipulation taking place by airlines operating in regional areas”.
Reply

Welcome to our world of - Who give's a rat's in Can'tberra -  Dodgy

From Ironsider, via the Oz:

Quote:Anger at lack of action on airfares

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Emma Harman at Mount Isa. Picture: Ruth Gear

Hopes a Senate inquiry would deliver much-needed relief from exorbitant airfares in regional Australia have been dashed by the final report.

The Rural and Regional ­Affairs and Transport References Committee found airfares to regional Australia were among the highest in the world, to the detriment of residents.

But the high prices were found to be justified by “economies of scale” and the fact the cost of aircraft operations had to be distributed across fewer people.

Mount Isa resident Emma Harman, whose husband Sean died in a car crash she blames on the high cost of airfares on ­regional routes, said the final report was “limp”.

“I’m not sure how they could form the view there wasn’t price gouging (by airlines),” Ms Harman said.

“It looks like price gouging from our perspective as consumers when a 2½-hour flight from Mount Isa to Brisbane costs three or four times as much as a 2½-hour flight from Brisbane to Melbourne.”

She said the recommendation to have the Productivity Commission conduct its own ­inquiry into how domestic fares were determined on regional routes seemed like buck-passing.

“It seems a bit limp and ineffective,” Ms Harman said.

Cloncurry resident Hamish Griffin was hoping to see the ­report recommend more regulated air routes and a cap on airfares.
“There doesn’t seem to be much focus at all on fares in the final report,” Mr Griffin said.

Winton Shire Mayor Gavin Baskett said he was disappointed the Senate committee was “just going to handball” the issue on to the Productivity Commission.

“It’ll just be another round of meetings and discussions. There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Member for Traeger Robbie Katter, whose seat is based on Mount Isa, said there did not seem to be a political will to tackle the airlines on the issue of exorbitant regional airfares.

“The presumption is the Productivity Commission has more teeth in terms of extracting information from the airlines,
hence that’s a starting point to try and fix the problem,” Mr Katter said of the recommendation for a further inquiry.
MTF...P2  Angry
Reply

Lots of chatter in the press about regional fares.

This from the ABC:

Do airlines price gouge passengers for regional flights?

Senate investigation says no

A national inquiry has found no evidence airlines are price gouging travellers on regional routes.

Key points:

A Senate committee report found airport fees only make up a small portion of airfares
It raised concerns about the burden increased security screening would place on regional airports.
It also suggested international airlines be allowed to fly domestic routes through Darwin Airport on a trial basis

In its final report, a Senate committee that spent more than 18 months investigating air services in regional Australia put the world-topping fares down to genuine market forces and economies of scale.

That is despite numerous reports from travellers like Hamish Griffin who found it would cost $4,800 for his family to fly 800 kilometres from Cloncurry to Townsville and back, or John Pyper who said he was quoted $1,300 each way to fly from Central Australia to Sydney.

"Based on the evidence before it, the committee could not form the view that there was 'price gouging' or other market manipulation taking place by airlines operating in regional areas," the Senate committee report stated.
"While the committee notes that such a finding may frustrate residents who consider that regional airfares are unnecessarily excessive, the extensive evidence put before the committee in this inquiry does not allow such a conclusion to be reached.

Its major recommendation geared at lowering these prices was for airlines to consult with local councils, tourism operators and other stakeholders to better understand possible unmet demand and better tailor services to the needs of local communities.
But, speaking to ABC North West Queensland, committee chair senator Glenn Sterle said the failure to find evidence of price gouging did not mean it was not occurring.

"I could not prove that there was price gouging," Mr Sterle said.

He called on the Federal Government to use its powers to investigate the issue.

"We're now saying very clearly this has got to go further up the ladder," he said.

"The Federal Government has the remit around the aviation industry around Australia. The Federal Government has no desire to step up to the plate and do anything."

Federal Minister for Transport Michael McCormack said the Government would give careful consideration to the Senate committee's recommendations and respond in due course.

Trial lift of aviation cabotage suggested at Darwin.

The committee also suggested giving international airlines the go-ahead to fly domestic routes through Darwin Airport — the nation's closest international airport to Asia — saying lifting aviation cabotage could lower ticket prices for remote commuters.

Aviation cabotage refers to the transport of goods or passengers from two points in one country by a transport operator from another country — which is currently banned in most countries.

While the committee said it would not support removing cabotage restrictions more broadly, it said the Government could trial the idea in a location where suitable infrastructure already exists and where government underwriting costs would not be required.

Northern Territory economic groups have long argued that lifting the restriction in Australia's Top End would increase competition and drop prices for commuters currently forced to fork out for some of the most expensive routes in the country.

Is it really cheaper to fly overseas than to get to another Australian city from Alice Springs?

In turn, they said it could increase tourism and create business opportunities.

"For example, Mr Benjamin Quilliam of Alice Springs saw the lifting of cabotage to be of benefit to Central Australia, particularly if international airlines could fly to Alice Springs, then on to Uluru or another Australian capital," the report noted.

"Mr Quilliam argued that such a measure would increase tourist numbers to central Australia, while introducing competition to the market which could drive down fares for local residents."

However, Australia's major domestic carriers are likely to stand in firm opposition to the idea, with its biggest carrier Qantas claiming it would "destabilise the local aviation market" and would be detrimental to the nation's workforce and economic interests.

"You'll see people cherrypicking certain routes, so you damage the route network and the economics of Australia's competitive aviation sector with foreign carriers," a Qantas spokesperson told the inquiry.

"As we also said in our submission, it eliminates significant numbers of Australian jobs, particularly in the regions, as well as the long-term investment in the market.

Given Qantas has grounded its entire fleet over a union issue in the past, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has previously indicated any move to restrict cabotage should be made with caution.

"I think Qantas have shown they're very prepared to play hardball, and we've got to be extremely careful we don't lose Qantas seats into and out of the Territory," he said.

"The pricing's an issue, we've got to keep fighting Qantas on the pricing and get that pricing down, but Qantas is also the best friend to the Territory as well when we look at the number of seats."

Airport charges only 'very small component' of fare

The committee also found that — despite the outcry from airlines — airport charges make up only a small portion of airfares.

There may be half a dozen Asian megacities on Darwin's doorstep, but they are easier to access from airports located 4,000 kilometres south. Why can't Australia's northernmost city be the "Gateway to Asia" it's purported to be?
However, it also conceded that when combined with higher operational costs in regional and remote areas, it could be that airport charges become a more significant contributor to the overall airfare.

The issue has been hotly debated by airlines and airports in the Northern Territory, with last year Qantas allegedly refusing to pay airport charges at Alice Springs and Darwin.

In September last year, Northern Territory Airports claimed Qantas owed it $1.6m for three years worth of unpaid charges at Alice Springs and was "seriously contemplating legal action".

In response, Qantas had claimed the two Territory airports were the most expensive in the country, and called for better regulation to stop airports "charging whatever they want".

However, the recent Senate committee report cited evidence from Northern Territory Airports acting chief executive Tom Ganley, who said airport charges were only a "very small component of the cost of regional airfares".
The company also pointed out that airlines "took all the risks associated with demand" and highlighted that a $70m terminal expansion at Darwin Airport had doubled capacity but there had been virtually no passenger growth for the last five years.

It also said that if demand dropped, airlines could always deploy their planes elsewhere, whereas airports risked ending up with stranded assets.

However, Qantas told the inquiry that airport charges and security costs make up 17 per cent of its operational costs.

The committee also raised concerns about the cost of increased security screening on regional airports.
Senator Rex Patrick — who added his own comments to the end of his committee's report — said the equipment would cost regional airport operators between $530,000 and $760,000 annually for equipment, maintenance and screening staff costs — which would likely be passed onto travellers through increased ticket costs.

But given national security was a Federal Government issue, it said it should be stumping up the funds to cover these costs.

He also said it was strange that the Federal Government had allocated $50.1m for security screening equipment at regional airports, when these extra security measures were not yet legally required.

Senator Patrick also added comments about the issue of pilot shortages, which he said was due to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority suffocating the industry with regulation.
He urged the Australian Government to initiate a "major rewrite" of these rules, in a bid to reverse this trend.
CASA declined to comment.


Northern Territory Airports, Qantas and the Home Affairs Department have been contacted for comment.

Senator Patrick gets it.

Tens of thousands of pages of legislation controlling aviation in Australia against One thousand in the USA.

Comparison of regional airfares in the USA with Australia and one would wonder how can they be so cheap?

Comparison between the USA safety statistics and Australia indicates the US is also a lot safer than Australia, and is improving each year whilst ours remain static. So our miasma of legislation has nothing to do with safety.

The question that should be asked is what percentage of a ticket price is made up of "Compliance" costs.




Reply

As an operator of scheduled passenger services with light twin engine aircraft across Bass Strait to Tassie from Phillip Island (80s and 90s) I can attest that my services would not be possible today. CASA’s nightmare red tape, swinging fees and the requirements to employ discrete personnel, where one could easily fill certain positions, has put paid to the smaller operator who might well be servicing some routes and communities that can’t sustain larger aircraft types. With all the modern navigational equipment, such as virtual or synthetic vision, and superior engine monitoring, there’d be plenty of scope for regional operators if the regulatory environment was even half rational.

CASA will of course baulk at any suggestion about simplification or rational reform of the rules and will trot out the same old ‘safety’ frighteners to deter the Minister. CASA fights to maintain it’s big salaried importance, it’s make work programs, easy working conditions and Winter time escapes to conferences in Queensland or O/S.
I feel for those out in the bush that have lost so much by the destruction of General Aviation. Sadly many senior Can’tberra bureaucrats, all too often arrogant and full of hubris, couldn’t care less.
Reply

Make it happen REX -  Rolleyes

Here's one for the new Senate RRAT committee; today I got an update from the ANAO office with their proposed audits of agencies/entities that full under the Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development portfolio and once again CASA features:


Quote:Administration of regulation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority
POTENTIAL
Potential audit: 2019-20
Portfolio 
Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
Entity 
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Contact 
Please direct enquiries through our contact page.
Activity 
Regulation


This audit would examine whether the Civil Aviation Safety Authority administers its legislative and regulatory responsibilities in an efficient and effective manner, consistent with the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework and with other relevant standards and better practice principles.
 
Maybe it is about time that the Senators make this happen?  Shy

Especially when you consider the seriously sinister upcoming introduction of Part 149 and the ongoing embuggerance of APTA under the provisons of the dodgy Part 142 - reference the following well written letter from Glen Buckley to St Commode:


Quote:Dear Mr Carmody,

 
Prior to proceeding with the contents of this letter, it is important that I clarify some important matters.
 
The business has been operating for 15 years delivering well intentioned, safe and highly compliant flight training. CASA records will support that contention.
 
Flying schools conducting a practice referred to as ‘sharing an Air Operators Certificate” is a practice that has been going on for many decades within the flight training industry. The practice has been conducted with the full knowledge, consent, and support of CASA. This cannot be refuted.
 
There were deficiencies in those arrangements, as often the organisations operated independently and in their own interests.
 
APTA was the first time in Australia that the deficiencies in the existing practice were addressed. This cannot be refuted, as CASA personnel worked side by side with APTA personnel in designing the purpose built system that we now have. We attended to over 600 CASA requirements, and in fact we were one of the few schools that met the CASA stipulated deadline of September 1 2017. APTA was approved by CASA in April 2017 and has been operating in that format for more than two years. In November 2017, 6 months after we Transitioned, CASA conducted a level one audit (the highest available), and no concerns were raised.
 
At no stage during the process did CASA ever require contracts of us, or in fact any other flying training organisation in Australia. The requirements regarding contracts, is a requirement specifically being placed on APTA. Other operators continue to be exempted from this requirement. I assert that in the last 25 years of the practice of schools sharing AOCs, CASA does not hold any contracts on any other operators. They have chosen not to refute my allegation, because the fact is the CASA requirement is unique to APTA. It is unfair and unjust that you elect to single my Organisation out, and apply conditions to me that you choose not to apply to other operators.
 
Importantly, the use of a contract was an APTA initiative, and at no stage had CASA ever required a contract The contracts were drawn up by lawyers, and have been reviewed on at least 5 occasions since that time by lawyers. APTA and APTA members are satisfied with the contracts that we use. It is only CASA that is not satisfied. It is incumbent on CASA to tell me what you want in the contracts.
 
In October 2018, without any prior warning at all, CASA did a complete reversal of policy and initiated the action that has been continuing for more than 8 months now. The impact of that action on the business, my family, my members and staff has been traumatic. It is a clear breach of many aspects of your own regulatory philosophy.
 
Initially CASA action was not based on contracts, but the action was taken on the basis of 
  1. Aviation Ruling and
  2. Temporary locations procedure.
After approximately two months, CASA admitted that the Aviation Ruling was the incorrect basis to be taking the action and “took the Aviation Ruling off the table”.
CASA also realised that the Temporary locations procedure was in fact their own procedure that they had suggested, helped us design, approved, and in fact they approved bases under the system.  It is ludicrous that you now penalise me and my organisation for the very procedure that CASA in fact suggested.
 
After the CASA confusion was sorted out, they moved to the Latrobe Valley audit results. CASA has ignored 10 requests from me to finalise the allegations made, and they have tried to avoid addressing my concerns. The audit results and the associated process could not be justified, with new allegations arriving many months after you conducted an audit.
 
With the aviation ruling off the table, the temp locations embarrassingly identified as CASAs own procedure, and an inability to back up the allegations of regulatory breaches, CASA moved to the topic of contracts.
 
CASA initially accused us of not having contracts in place. CASA had forgotten they had been provided with contracts on multiple occasions. The topic them changed yet again but this time to a requirement to see signed copies of the contracts which we had, and they were provided to CASA.
 
As nothing appeared to be “sticking” he topic then moved yet again, but now back to the content of the contracts. CASA then provided guidance material on the first occasion that I fully adopted and submitted to CASA. For reasons that I cannot understand, they then rejected the contracts with their own material included.
 
CASA provided a second lot of guidance material, which I fully adopted.  CASA then accepted the second version of the contracts. CASA advised “I have reviewed the draft contract provided this date.  I can confirm the content is acceptable to CASA.  My appreciation to you and your staff for provision of same”, but hours later reversed their position and withdrew the approved contracts. It appeared that nothing could satisfy CASA and I have no doubt that there was a “hidden agenda” and that was driven by Mr Crawford.
 
After approximately 6 months, and a high level of confusion within CASA, they were forced into outsourcing the contract requirement to an outside lawyer. That begs the question. Why would CASA initiate the action back in October 2018? In order to know that something is wrong, you do need to know what is right. CASA obviously didn’t!!! It took over 6 months before CASA had the third lot of guidance material.
 
Eventually a third set of guidance was supplied. CASA advised that it was guidance only and I should use my own terminology, rather than take theirs verbatim. I reviewed that against our contracts and exposition and am satisfied that our current contracts and exposition meet all requirements from their “guidance” material. I have asked CASA to identify any deficiencies and I will attend to them if they provide that information. There is no resistance from me, but I do require clear and concise guidance.
 
Unfortunately another point of confusion exists, as CASA have provided information on our Part 141 operations only, and have not provided any guidance on the Part 142 component, which is the majority of what we do, so until they clarify that, I am unable to move forward. I have made two requests, but they have not been answered.
 
CASA have also stipulated that all personnel must be APTA “employees”. The existing definitions of employees support the APTA model, so I have asked CASA to provide a definition of an employee that meets their requirements for this situation, which I am waiting on.
 
The third lot of guidance material suggests that we need to be assessed on the following. I point out that these are the exact items I attended to with CASA years earlier.
 
  • Suitability of the organisation.
  • Chain of Command in the organisation.
  • The number, qualifications, and competency of personnel.
  • Sufficiency of the facilities.
  • Suitability of the procedures and practices.
  • Suitability of Key Personnel.
  • Full operational control.
  • Compliance with procedures.
  • Capability to comply with legislation.
  • Compliance with directions.
  • Understanding of commitments
  • Access to reference library
  • Standardisation and proficiency checks
  • Ability to remove unsuitable personnel
  • Notification of change of Key Personnel.
  • Maintain a register of instructors.
  • Notification of
  • Provide a copy to all parties of the Operations manual
  • Supervision to ensure compliance with the manual.
  • Audits.
  • Compliance with audit findings.
  • Access to records.
  • Log of all simulator training.
  • List of simulators
  • Information pertinent to aircraft
  • Log of medicals of all personnel
  • Ability of APTA to cancel or suspend the agreement.
 
As all members will be aware we do have all of these systems in place because we actually did exactly this more than two years ago, working with CASA personnel and that is what lead to our approval in April 2017. These were the exact items that I worked on with CASA over a two year period as we designed APTA, and they are the procedures we have been following for over two years.
 
It is obvious that the CASA personnel that I deal with really have no idea about APTA. I have asked CASA to describe to me their understanding of CASA, but they steadfastly refuse to do so. APTA is not confused. The members are not confused, and the personnel are not confused. It is in fact only CASA that is confused. It is CASA that is breaching its obligations placed on it by the Regulatory Philosophy. It is CASA that chose to initiate a complete reversal of policy with no warning, and it is CASA that has bought substantial damage to the business, the members, the staff and to me personally. There are no safety concerns, there are no regulatory breaches, and you cannot direct me to any legislative breaches. I am dealing with the “opinions” of CASA personnel who have displayed unconscionable conduct.
 
The current situation is that CASA will soon decide on continuing operations. I have engaged substantive legal advice, and a failure by CASA to act appropriately, will be met with a class action, and this will be immediately initiated if required. I will be calling on the wider industry and professional organisations to join me in that class action, as my concerns are shared by the wider GA community.
 
The failure of CASA to achieve clear and concise aviation safety standards, the failure of CASA to comply with its own regulatory philosophy, the malpractice of certain CASA individuals, and a flagrant disregard for the PGPA Act, the total disregard for the Ministers Statement of Expectation,  and a complete failure to act in a well-intentioned manner, and a preference to act in a bullying and intimidating manner are in fact the causes of the problems.
 
Quite simply, the confusion exists within CASA. APTA was designed to increase safety, increase regulatory compliance, protect our respective business, and to create jobs. The concept is fully approved by CASA and the complete reversal of policy is not acceptable.
 
CASA has placed a number of restrictions on my ability to trade that have had enormous consequences, and I emphasise that there are no allegations of safety concerns or regulatory breaches. This entire issue and all of the associated damage to so many businesses and people is truly disgusting and could have been avoided had Will Nuttalls, Brad Lacy, David Jones, and Craig Martin  acted in a well intentioned manner, and adhered to the obligations placed on them, in their roles.
 
Glen Buckley
 
 
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Senate News -  Rolleyes

At a 11:52 am yesterday in Can'terra the Civil Aviation Act amendment Bill was re-introduced into the Senate Wink :

Quote:Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019

Last Updated
04/07/2019
Type
Government
Portfolio
Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development
Originating house
Senate
Status
Before Senate
Parliament no
46


PROGRESS OF BILL
Senate Introduced and read a first time

04 Jul 2019
Second reading moved

04 Jul 2019
DOCUMENTS AND TRANSCRIPTS
Text of bill
First reading
Download
Explanatory memoranda
Explanatory memorandum
Download
Proposed amendments
No proposed amendments have been circulated.
Schedule of amendments
No documents at present

Also from the Senate the membership of both RRAT committees appears to be firming up, although at this point in time there is no elected Chairs:

Quote:Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
Legislation Committee Membership

Committee Members


References Committee Membership

Committee Members


Member
  
Although it is not mentioned above it would seem that we have that insufferable, time wasting, silly bloody WOFTAM Rice back -  Dodgy 

 https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Bus.../&sid=0038

Quote:Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation and References Committees—
Appointed—Senator Rice
Participating member: Senator Roberts

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Sic'em REX!

Ref:

(02-09-2018, 11:18 AM)Peetwo Wrote:   "Sic 'em Rex!" - Big Grin

Maybe not entirely PC but having placed a cyber watch on the encouraging progress of Senator Rex (so far), I thought the following 1989 'Antz Pantz' advertisement quite appropriate.. Rolleyes

Via YouTube:


(02-13-2018, 02:46 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  And the legend grows - Shy

[Image: hqdefault.jpg]




 "Sic 'em Rex!" -  Wink


Slight diversion here but IMO it is important... Wink

Via the AFR:

Quote:This is what motivates the 'coalition of the reasonable'
[Image: 77c9959d881628b332d4171c8cde03187f290f40]
Andrew Tillett Political Correspondent


Jul 5, 2019 — 11.00pm

Call it South Australia's and Tasmania's revenge. Long derided as economic laggards and political backwaters, the first week of the new Parliament demonstrated these two states are now enjoying a super-sized role in Canberra's corridors of power and it's one the rest of the country had better get used to.

The government scored a huge victory on Thursday when it secured passage of its $158 billion tax cut package, but it was a triumph that rested in no small part on the amenability of the Senate crossbench – minus One Nation.

[Image: 93511dc6592ccdce33e10d32cf51e879393680e3]


Centre Alliance senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff with Senator Jacqui Lambie.  Alex Ellinghausen

And while three cross bench senators – South Australians Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff and Tasmania's Jacqui Lambie – have cemented their importance to this federal government, they are driven by a parochial desire to extract the best deal for their states.

"We have to approach every decision through a South Australian lens," Patrick tells AFR Weekend.

"We're mindful that there are only 10 members in the lower house, including Rebekha [Sharkie, their Centre Alliance colleague] that represent South Australia.

"Jackie's in the same position with only five [Tasmanian] members among the 150.

"So we are very alive to the fact we have to balance out that lack of representation in the lower house. We have to try to use this opportunity, this influence we have, to even the keel a little bit."

Asked whether, from their perches in the Senate, the trio should effectively impose minority rule, Patrick is unapologetic.


"That's the way the Constitution works. We are elected constitutionally by the people of South Australia and I have no problem looking at things through that South Australian lens."

As they started talking turkey with the government over tax cuts, Patrick and Griff quickly zeroed in on the need to lower the cost of gas, which fuels 51 per cent of South Australia's electricity needs.

They did not get a publicly signed, sealed and delivered agreement to reduce gas to a certain price (Patrick has floated a figure of $7 a gigajoule which competitor regulators have told him is possible). What they did get was a timetable for steps the government will take, such as tightening the Domestic Gas Security Mechanism.


"We turbocharged that," Patrick says.

South Australians Griff and Patrick belong to what remains of Nick Xenophon's political machine.  Griff was elected on Xenophon's coat tails at the 2016 double dissolution election while Patrick replaced the party founder when he tried to transfer to state politics.

Patrick emerged as the public face of the tax cut negotiations, in part because of his role as Centre Alliance's energy spokesman, but also because he is comfortable in the media spotlight.

A self-described workaholic, Patrick was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia with his parents and siblings seven years later, spending his formative years in the steel town of Whyalla.

Submarine service

Patrick had the typical bush childhood of his generation, where kids were allowed to roam far and wide and had to make their own fun. One game he played with his older brother and friends was fox hunt, where they would drive around trying to find each other using the signal strength of their CB radios.

It was a precursor to Patrick's time in the navy, which he joined as a 16-year-old. Patrick tells AFR Weekend he wanted to be a radar plotter but was guided towards becoming an electrical technician because he was good at maths and physics.

Patrick volunteered for submarine service early on and says his time under the sea was a useful training ground for life in the Canberra bubble.

"I often say that in order to be a submariner you do a psych test and if you fail, you're in," he says.

"Living on a submarine with 60 other people, as I did on an Oberon for a long period of time, teaches you how to get along with people.

"In those days you'd have one shower a week whether you needed it or not. It was a tough life. It was a 24/7 life. It taught you about working hard and working as a team as well."

After a 10-year stint, Patrick left the navy in the mid-1990s and joined an engineering firm building sonar systems before forming his own sonar training business in 2007.

It was here that Patrick's commitment to accountability and transparency in government crystallised.

New fleet

He wrote a series of articles for a defence trade publication on early preparations to acquire a new fleet of submarines where he advocated for the low-risk approach of adapting an existing off-the-shelf design. It didn't go down well with the military, who  tried to use his status as a defence contractor to gag him.

He says now that experience reinforced his belief in both the value of having different ideas and "not just accepting what governments said".

Patrick's entree to politics was originally as a volunteer to then shadow defence minister David Johnston, advising him on submarines. But when the Liberals won the 2013 election, Patrick knocked back a job offer because he was already wary of the Tony-Abbott-Peta Credlin centralised control approach to running a government.

Acquaintances suggested he get to know Xenophon and the two got on well instantly. Patrick saw in Xenophon someone who threw himself into trying to solve problems, rather than being shackled by the confines of a major party.

In 2015, he became Xenophon's senior adviser before entering the Senate in 2017.

[Image: 17c59e77472f085ca035d60631ca379dc7c91542]
"At no time throughout my career have I ever tried to climb a ladder, " Patrick says. David Rowe

"At no time throughout my career have I ever tried to climb a ladder, " Patrick says.


"All I've ever said is 'I want to do the job I'm doing right now and do that well'. Then people come and ask you to do something more. I wasn't pushing to be a senator.  Nick just recognised that I was probably the right person to take over and made the offer."


During his time in the Senate, Patrick has at times displayed an obsessive tendency to chase down every hole on issues that are important to him.


His commitment to winning, and keeping, defence jobs for Adelaide is ferocious, even when strategic interest suggests they could be better located elsewhere.


Dudded again

A good example of this is the investigations now under way at the Department of Defence to move deep maintenance of the Collins class submarines from Adelaide to Perth.

Such a move makes sense for a number of reasons. The subs' home port is Perth, and demands on labour and workshop space as construction of the new submarine ramps up will put the squeeze on Adelaide's ability to service the Collins submarines over the medium and long term.


But every little nugget that Patrick uncovers through Freedom of Information requests or Senate estimates invariably ends up in The Adelaide Advertiser as a warning of how SA is being dudded again.


Now unquestionably a Senate's kingmaker, Patrick insists his new-found clout "doesn't change me in any way, shape or form".


"I will still approach everything the way I always have, which is 'There is an issue before us. Let's get some perspectives, let's get some understanding. What is the right thing to do?'"


Patrick insists there is no ideological underpinning to how he tackles an issue.


"I am an engineer. So I don't think about things politically," he says.


Patrick points out that his and Centre Alliance's vote is irrelevant when Labor agrees with the Coalition.


"Sometimes the position is black or white, yes or no. Other times it's gray, and that's when the work starts," he says.


Like the gas price undertaking Patrick and Griff won as part of the tax negotiations, Lambie's agreement with the government is opaque. She raised the possibility of the Commonwealth forgiving Tasmania's $157 million debt for social housing as a way to ease the state's homelessness crisis.


The government has told her it will work through the issue with Tasmania's Hodgman government over coming weeks. If Canberra stops short of cancelling the debt altogether, it could waive the interest payments, which Lambie says cost the Tasmanian budget $15 million annually.


"I just wanted to come in here and show Tasmanians: 'You voted me in, you wanted me to get the job done, you wanted me to do something about this public housing'," Lambie explains.


Lambie says she is a changed person from the firebrand that characterised her first stint in the Senate between 2014 and 2017. She wants to start her second-chance political career with a clean slate.


Collegial relationships

She now appreciates, she says, the importance of having collegial relationships with government ministers if she wants to chalk up a record of delivering for those who voted for her.

[Image: 21809f2217927960377e8742529c6e36f797aa78]
Jacqui Lambie has a long list of things she wants for Tasmania. Alex Ellinghausen

"I've had relationships with these guys in the past. I've fallen out with all of them," she says.

"That 3½ years I was in, I've learnt from that because I did make mistakes. I isolated ministers and things like that. Some of the ways I did things, I look back and think 'I should have done it this way', but with that comes knowledge."

Part of her new-found savviness is working with the Centre Alliance pairing. While not a formal negotiating bloc of three, they are co-operating in areas where there is common ground.


The impact of Senate voting reforms that were introduced in 2016 to reduce the likelihood of micro party candidates getting elected were diluted that year because it was a double dissolution election with all Senate seats up for grabs. But in 2019, with the Senate formula back to the regular 50 per cent of seats, they worked as intended. The number of senators who are not members of any of the major parties or the Greens went from 11 elected in 2016 to five.

That changing dynamic was on show during the tax cut negotiations. With Labor at sixes and sevens, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson tried her luck with a multibillion-dollar ambit claim, asking for taxpayers to fund construction of a coal-fired power station and the 1930s-era Bradfield irrigation scheme.

"That's just silly stuff," Lambie says of Hanson's demands.


Lambie says she has a "big list" of things she wants for Tasmania but she is playing a long game.


"I've got six years up here. Unless there is a change of power in the Senate for some reason and someone goes down, slow and steady will win the race.


"If you over-ask, they will say "see you later, I'm going to deal with another crossbencher".


Next time the government comes looking for her vote, Lambie plans to focus on improving health services, particularly in her native north-west where small rural communities can face long waits or travel times to access treatment.

"It's worked well [the tax cut talks]. It would be nice to think it's going to be this kosher all the way along," she says.


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CA Act gets bipartisaned -  Huh

I know bipartisaned is technically not a word but last night in the Senate the Civil Aviation Act Amendment Bill 2019 effectively got ticked and flicked through the red chamber to the 3rd reading with barely a whimper of protest or debate from either side. Is this just another classic example of the mystique of aviation safety befuddling our elected representatives and once again the aviation industry suffers from democratic neglect - ie we've been bipartisaned... Dodgy ?

For what it is worth here is the Hansard for the 2nd reading debate which included rejected amendments from the Greens and Jacqui Lambie.

For a much more concise and positive summary of the evenings proceedings it is now over to Ben Morgan... Wink


Quote:AUSTRALIAN SENATE DEBATES BILL TO AMEND CIVIL AVIATION ACT
July 22, 2019 By Benjamin Morgan

AOPA Australia Executive Director Benjamin Morgan reports.

[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-07-23-at-12.32.56-am-1170x500.png]

The Bill to amend the Civil Aviation Act came before the Australian Senate on Monday 22nd July 2019, with a range of responses from Senators in attendance, successfully navigating its way through t0 the third reading where if voted by majority will become law.

The change to the Civil Aviation Act comes as a direct result of AOPA Australia’s General Aviation Summit 2018 in Wagga Wagga NSW, the Deputy Prime Minister’s federal seat of Riverina, calling on the government to make the Civil Aviation Safety Authority responsible for acknowledging cost and sustainability.

AOPA Australia and industry are seeking the changes in an effort to drive long-term regulatory cost reductions for general aviation, which is currently suffering from decades long decline as a result of over regulation.

Click to view the Explanatory Memorandum
Click to view the Civil Aviation Act Amendment Bill 2019

First up was Australian Labor Party Senator Murray Watt, declaring the ALP’s strong bipartisan support for the Bill.  During his speech, Senator Watt went on to highlight how well the ALP understood the aviation industry, especially in regional Australia, reflecting on the Aviation White Paper delivered under Anthony Albanese MP’s time as Transport Minister.



Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice came out strong against the Bill, asserting that seeking to make CASA accountable for cost impact on the sustainability of industry would lead to the wholesale abuse of the aviation regulator’s powers, resulting in the lowering of overall aviation safety.



South Australian Liberal Senator David Fawcett, took the opportunity to respond to Senator Rice’s opposition, highlighting that the Bill has followed many years of industry consultation and feedback which has highlighted the impacts of CASA’s all too often bureaucratic responses to industry.



Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick also put forward his strong support for the Bill, making clear that the sustainability of industry is just as important as safety. The Senator made clear that Australian general aviation is in a perilous state with the industry facing extinction. Senator Patrick highlighted how the decline in general aviation is driving Australia’s airline pilot shortage, which is placing pressures on regional airfares and services, making clear the need to reconfigure CASA. Senator Patrick made clear that CASA has been regulating general aviation out of existence.  Senator Patrick also went on to make clear that in fifteen days he will put a motion before the Senate to disallow CASA’s recent Community Service Flight regulations that have negatively impact on the industry, an example of their over-regulation and burden on the industry.



Liberal Party Senator Zed Seselja then spoke on behalf of the government to reiterate the commitment to aviation safety, stressing that the Bill is not intended to impede CASA’s ability to make operational safety decisions, stating that CASA must be able to make aviation safe and reliable.  The Senator went on to say that the Bill relates to the way in which CASA develops and regulates aviation safety standards, taking into account the differing risks posed by the various sectors of aviation, but not to individual decisions or directions by the regulator.



Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice’s motion to have the Bill referred to the Senate RRAT Committee for Inquiry, with the findings to be reported by 10th September, was eventually defeated in the Senate, with 9 voting in favour and 48 voting against.

The Senator took the opportunity to rebuke the defeat, pushing back against the government, Senator Patrick and Fawcett, claiming that the Bill would negatively impact on aviation safety and required the full consideration of a Senate Committee Inquiry.

Speaking for the government, Senator Seselja reaffirmed that safety remains the primary consideration and that the Bill would not impede CASA, making clear there would be no watering down of CASA’s primary objective to keep Australians safe in the air.

Senator Rice again responded, deeply disappointed and refusing to accept the government’s position, stating that whilst she understood that there was the best of intentions, the Bill would undermine CASA.

The Senator did concede that Senator Patrick’s concerns for Community Service Flights were a good example of why the Senate should be seeking to disallow, rather than the safety regulator being given unfettered power.



Tasmanian Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie put forward an Amendment to the Bill, seeking to introduce stronger wording to recognise the need for costs to be considered by CASA and for the industry to be sustainable.

The Senator stressed that excessive regulation by CASA was keeping the industry safe by keeping aircraft grounded, stating that costs must be considered when developing regulations for industry.

Before Senator Lambie could finish, the Senate was called to break for an hour.

On resuming, Senator Lambie argued that if regulation can save industry just one dollar, whilst not compromising aviation safety, then it should be supported.  Arguing a need for all regulations to be assessed for costs and benefits.



Senator Lambie highlighted that safety decisions by government ultimately are all paid for by the end users of aviation, with business being squeezed out through ever increasing costs, with each new regulation adding further to the costs of doing business.



The government’s response to Senator Lambie’s proposed amendment to the Bill was blunt objection, with Senator Duniam arguing that it would create ambiguity within the act, by obscuring safety as the sole most important consideration for CASA.



 
Australian Labor Party Senator Murray Watt also spoke against Senator Lambie’s proposed amendment to the Bill, reiterating the government’s position, and also spoke against Senator Rice’s motion to have the Senate RRAT Committee undertake an Inquiry into the Bill to amend the Civil Aviation Act.

Senator Watt stressed that the Bill was a result of strong bipartisan work.



Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice spoke in support of Senator Lambie’s proposed amendments, again highlighting the need to protect CASA’s focus on safety as it primacy.



It was then communicated that the Committee had considered the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2019 and agreed to it without amendments.  Senator Duniam, on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, moved that the report of the Committee be adopted – which was carried by the Senate.  Senator Duniam then moved that the Bill be read the third time, which was also carried.



 
The motion was passed 38 for and 9 against.



(Choc frog for BM who I understand burnt the midnight oil on this one - welcome to my world... Wink )

Time will tell? BM's spin on this turn of events is much more upbeat than mine, maybe he is right and the small changes to the Act will be enough to kick start the industry out of coffin corner but my thoughts were that an opportunity for good debate was missed and I oh so hate it when they mention bipartisan support and aviation safety in the same breath...  Dodgy  


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