Senate Estimates.

Rats and sinking ships?

Qantas chairman dons his life jacket:-Courtesy Sky Newss – HERE -.

Will he be seated next to the minister in the life boat??

FWIW …........

CBASA Inquiry Update: 12/10/23 

Via the Oz: 

Quote:Senate inquiry recommends review of Qatar Airways decision, finds Qantas exercised its influence

[Image: 44473910a2f4e5854eb708d550286636?width=1280]

The Albanese government denied Qatar Airways more flights into Australia to protect Qantas’ market share and keep airfares high, a Senate Committee has suggested.

The committee chaired by Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie delivered its report on Monday, after an intensive fortnight of public hearings examining the decision to refuse Qatar Airways an extra 28 flights a week.

Ten recommendations were made by the Committee, including a call for the government to conduct an immediate review of the decision.

Other recommendations sought the reinstatement of quarterly airline monitoring reports, and an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour in the domestic aviation market.

The committee also wanted consumer protection measures developed to assist travellers subjected to significant flight delays and cancellations, lost luggage and devaluation of loyalty programs.

It was recommended the government urgently respond to a two-year-old review of Sydney Airport’s demand management system, to address claims of “slot hoarding” and aid with flight recovery after periods of disruption.

And further recommendations were made for the Senate to adopt resolutions to allow the inquiry to continue, to hear from former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Transport Minister Catherine King.

Senator McKenzie said the evidence presented to the inquiry to date, supported the conclusion the government rejected Qatar Airways’ request because of interventions by Mr Joyce.

[Image: d4d2bf0d99ef54e410d0eae0f56519a6]

A timeline published in the report suggested the shift in the government’s position on the Qatar Airways’ request aligned with Qantas’ support for the Prime Minister’s referendum on the Voice.

“Unfortunately, the government sought to prevent the committee from fully investigating the reasons why additional Qatar Airways flights were rejected by refusing to release documents and placing a gag on the infrastructure and foreign affairs departments,” Senator McKenzie said.

She said it was apparent that at a time of a cost-of-living crisis, the government had made decisions to protect Qantas’ market share and keep the cost of airfares higher for families and exporters.

“The committee heard evidence that Australians could have been enjoying cheaper flights to Europe and the Middle East as early as April this year had the government approved additional Qatar Airways flights,” Senator McKenzie said.

Dissenting reports were filed by Labor Senators Tony Sheldon and Linda White, and Greens Senator Penny Allman-Payne.

Senators Sheldon and White said there was “obvious bias” in the majority report coupled by a clear political agenda, and opposed any extension to the inquiry.

“Indeed, throughout five public hearings and nearly 150 written submissions, this inquiry has not revealed any information that was not already on the public record before the inquiry began,” wrote the Labor Senators.

Ms King also lashed out at the inquiry calling it a “political stunt from the Coalition that did none of the things” it wanted the Albanese government to do.

“It didn’t give Qatar 28 extra flights a week and took four years to give an extra seven,” said Ms King.

“It didn’t do anything on the slots system at Sydney airport. It did nothing to improve consumer protections. And it left the sector without a blueprint for the future.”

Qantas pointed out that bilateral air rights were a matter for government and remained unconvinced of the benefits to airline monitoring by the ACCC.

But Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert praised the report as “getting to the heart of the issues facing the aviation sector for the ultimate benefit of the travelling public”.

The Australian Airports Association and Virgin Australia welcomed the report, and hoped the government would act on the recommendations.

AAA chief executive James Goodwin said it was encouraging to see the acknowledgment that Australia’s aviation sector was one of the most concentrated markets in Australia.

MTF...P2  Tongue

Let’s not forget the primary reason for a substantial part of the workload: CASA has built a regulatory regime which is a symbiosis between CASA and ‘industry’, requiring a ream of certificates, permissions, approvals, authorisations, licences, ratings, endorsements and exemptions in order to function lawfully, and CASA charges fees for it all. This sentence and the word “legally” says it all:

“[P]lanes across the nation could soon have trouble taking off if the Albanese government can’t come to an agreement over sufficient staffing and training levels for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), which keeps aircraft legally flying.”

And then there’s the self-perpetuating workload created by the sheer volume of regulatory material and the consequential errors and unintended consequences which CASA then has to address.

Courtesy the Conversation:

Quote:Qantas won’t like it, but Australian travellers could be about to get a better deal on flights

Published: October 12, 2023 6.06am AEDT

[Image: 301c0809d08bd93ffe7c8acfb5d4ee7a?impolic...height=485]

Weeks after Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce brought forward his resignation to help Qantas “accelerate its renewal”, the company’s chairman Richard Goyder today announced he too is retiring early, to “support restoration of trust”.

But the early retirement will take place “prior to the company’s annual general meeting in late 2024” – meaning Goyder will be in the chair for a while yet.

This will give him time to (among other things) help Qantas respond to the Senate inquiry into air services, which reported on Monday.

If acted on, some of the report’s recommendations would shift power away from Qantas – such as by giving travellers automatic cash compensation for delayed or cancelled flights.

But the inquiry arguably still didn’t go far enough, shying away from bolder action already taken in Europe.

What did the Senate inquiry recommend?

The Senate inquiry was set up to investigate the Albanese government’s refusal to approve extra flights into Australia sought by Qatar Airways, but broadened its scope to examine the way Qantas has been treating its customers.

Among its recommendations are that:
  • the government immediately review its decision not to increase capacity under Australia’s bilateral air services agreement with Qatar
  • when making decisions relating to bilateral air service agreements, the government have regard to cost benefit analysis, consult widely with key stakeholders, and publish a statement of reasons for decisions taken
  • the government review reform options to strengthen competition in the domestic aviation industry, including potential divestiture powers
  • the government direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to conduct an inquiry into potential anti-competitive behaviour in the domestic aviation market
  • the government develop and implement consumer protection reforms as soon as reasonably practicable to address significant delays, cancellations, lost baggage and devaluation of loyalty programs.

The committee also wanted to be reappointed so it would be able to reexamine witnesses who were unable to appear, including Alan Joyce and Transport Minister Catherine King.

Consumer cashback and action on Sydney Airport

Specific suggestions in the report would shift power away from Qantas.

One is automatic cash compensation for delayed or cancelled flights, of the kind Europeans have enjoyed for almost 20 years.

Another is for the government to respond to an independent review’s recommendations on improving Sydney Airport’s “slot management system” (how air traffic is managed), which reported back almost three years ago.

Yet another concerned “cabotage”: the ability for foreign airlines to pick up domestic passengers on a domestic leg of an international flight. The committee recommended the government consider limited cabotage.

The government hasn’t yet indicated which of the recommendations it plans to act on.

Open skies, or tightly-controlled skies?

The committee could have, and perhaps should have, put forward bolder recommendations.

One would have been unrestricted open skies agreements, of the kind Australia already has with China, India, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore. This would see the government remove itself from decisions about landing slots and leave that to the airports.

An alternative approach – almost the opposite – would be retaining the power to decide who lands, but using it to achieve outcomes the government wants, such as commitments from countries including Qatar on things such as workers’ rights.

The European Union has shown what could be done. It extracted key concessions from Qatar over workers’ rights and environmental protection before signing off on an Open Skies agreement in 2021.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a former transport minister who understands the detail of aviation policy, might be particularly keen on this idea, given Labor’s commitment to workers’ rights.

Sweeping changes ahead

Next year, the government will release a white paper on aviation policy through to 2050, after obtaining feedback on a green paper it released last month.

Those next 30 years will be far from business-as-usual for airlines and airports, whatever decisions the government takes now, and however Qantas responds.

Ultra-long-haul aircraft are likely to link Paris with Perth, and even London with Sydney within a decade. They are likely to force new alliances between airlines that today seem unlikely bedfellows.

And the chorus against the excesses of long-haul travel is likely to become louder.

Prince William’s refusal to travel to Sydney for the Women’s World Cup Final because of the size of the carbon footprint might be a sign of things to come.

MTF...P2  Tongue

The Pied Piper is playing their song.

When, lo! as they reached the mountain-side, 
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
{Robert Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamelin: A Child’s Story}.

From Sky news; Sen McKenzie seeks a righteous ending to the story she is unfolding; who know, we may even get Albo's very own pet curfew lifted and let Sydney become a truly international airport. Watch the flags go up and the prices drop then.

“Although we may never know the true events that fuelled such a story, there are still lessons to be learned from this mysterious account. Keep your promises, avoid rats, and always exercise caution around mysterious pipers.”......

Senate: CBASA Inquiry 1st ReportRolleyes 

Courtesy the APH, via YouTube:

Quote:Senator McKENZIE (Victoria—Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (18:00): I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

This is the first report of the Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements Select Committee. This Senate inquiry didn't have to happen. If the Anthony Albanese Labor government had been upfront and explained to the Australian public why it chose to block Qatar Airways's application for more flights and why it decided to put the interests of Qantas above the interests of everyday Australian travellers, this inquiry would never have had to happen. Indeed, this government—and this Prime Minister in particular—chose to look after their corporate crony mates, particularly former CEO Mr Joyce, and, more generally, the Qantas Group.

As the inquiry disclosed, as the ACCC has found and as the High Court has made clear, Qantas's corporate behaviour has been appalling. Our once-beloved national carrier has been despicable to its loyal customers, has flagrantly pursued and sacked its staff—illegally it has been found—and has sought to pocket nearly $½ billion of its own customers' COVID flight credits. On any measure, Australians are frustrated by the behaviour of the Qantas Group, and that came flowing out during this inquiry. The inquiry heard from over 140 submitters. Over 100 everyday Australians put pen to paper or keyboard to email to vent their frustrations and disappointment in a once-loved national carrier.

Rather than be upfront and honest, this government gave nine different and sometimes contradictory reasons for why it restricted competition and protected one airline's dominant market share over others and kept prices high. Ironically, this committee captured all but the built-up frustrations and traumas of families who lived through the COVID epidemic, when they were unable to fly to reach their loved ones they had been separated from, and who had literally been ripped off by a company that they thought had their nation's back. Qantas loves to trot out the 'national carrier' adjective, but when the chips were down Qantas was nowhere to be found. Frequent flyer points were debased, COVID flight credits could never be used, precious baggage was lost, and flights were delayed and cancelled, not to mention the behaviour of the Qantas board and management towards its loyal and professional staff while rewarding its departing CEO with an eye-watering golden parachute whilst he oversaw the trashing of this once-great Australian company's reputation. This inquiry became a lightning rod for all of these frustrations...


MTF...P2  Tongue

Miniscule Dicky King protection racket continues??Dodgy

In the Senate on Wednesday:

Quote:Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements Select Committee


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria—Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (15:45): I move:


(a) the Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements, appointed by resolution of the Senate on 5 September 2023, as amended on 7 September 2023, be reappointed on the same terms, except as otherwise provided by this resolution, so that the committee may:

(i) receive evidence at a public hearing from:

(A) witnesses who were unavailable prior to the committee's original reporting date, including Mr Alan Joyce AC; and

(B) government affairs representatives from Qantas, noting that Qantas' answers to questions on notice from senators were unsatisfactory; and

(ii) report on any matters arising relevant to the committee's terms of reference; and

(b) the committee or any subcommittee have the power to consider and make use of the evidence and records of the select committee appointed on 5 September 2023; and

© senators who were members or participating members of the previous select committee are appointed to the new committee; and

(d) the committee report by 29 November 2023.

Photo of MPThe PRESIDENT: The question is that general business notice of motion No. 346, standing in the name of Senator McKenzie, be agreed to.

Hide Division Data
Division: NOES 34 (3 majority) AYES 31 PAIRS 0

Plus via the AFR:

Quote:Labor backflips on aviation monitoring after Qantas drops opposition

Ayesha de Kretser
Oct 18, 2023 – 5.53pm

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has reinstated the competition watchdog’s mandate to monitor Qantas and Virgin Australia, as a Coalition motion to extend a probe into aviation was blocked by the Greens and independent senator David Pocock.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese claimed as recently as September 4 that Australia had the most competitive aviation market “bar none”. During the inquiry, Senator Pocock grilled Qantas about its claims regarding competition, given it and Virgin control 95 per cent of the domestic market.

[Image: c8304d120009c429e23734ddeedeb10894384078]Treasurer Jim Chalmers led the backflip as Labor refocuses on the economy. Alex Ellinghausen

Senator Pocock also demanded to know how many politicians had taken up the offer for free upgrades as members of Qantas’ Chairman’s Lounge, before rescinding his membership this month.

Labor’s backflip suggests the government has decided to refocus its attention on cost-of-living concerns.

“A competitive airline industry helps to put downward pressure on prices and deliver more choice for Australians facing cost-of-living pressures,” Dr Chalmers and Transport Minister Catherine King said in a joint statement.

A Senate inquiry found only Qantas had opposed extending an original mandate, put in place during COVID-19, for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to continue monitoring the airlines after June.

But in a submission to the Senate inquiry on October 6, Qantas softened its stance after having originally lobbied Treasury and the Department of Transport, saying the airline “accepts there is a perception that industry oversight of some sort would restore public confidence”.

The original ACCC monitoring mandate was put in place by the former Coalition government when Virgin entered administration to ensure airlines remained competitive. Until now, Ms King has repeatedly claimed that there was no need to – and that no one had even suggested – reinstating the ACCC’s monitoring powers.

“The 12 reports under the previous government found declining service standards and higher prices but were not acted on,” the joint statement read.

“In contrast, the Albanese government will use ACCC monitoring to help inform the aviation white paper which is setting the policy direction for the sector out to 2050. We will ensure healthy competition plays a key role in shaping the future of the sector.”

Previously Ms King has claimed that the white paper, the forerunner to which former ACCC boss Rod Sims described as being “extremely thin on competition”, would deal with domestic aviation competition concerns.

Finally in the Senate yesterday Albo hubris (IE Nothing to Say HERE!) continues... Dodgy



Hansard link - HERE

Hmm...that Senator Ayres is a nasty piece of work!! -  Angry

UDB! - Please refer to the NACC?? Dodgy

MTF...P2  Tongue

Is the Chair of the ACCC a member of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge?

ACCC Qantas Chairman's lounge; & Supp Estimates.

(10-20-2023, 04:52 PM)Earl Lank Wrote:  Is the Chair of the ACCC a member of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge?

That would be a yes apparently, via the Turnbull Times:

Quote:Bosses of key Qantas regulators revealed as members of airline’s Chairman’s Lounge

[Image: 5300.jpg?width=620&dpr=1&s=none]

Top regulators at Australia’s competition and corporate watchdogs are among the members of the exclusive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images

Some of Australia’s top regulators – including the competition boss Gina Cass-Gottlieb and corporate watchdog chair Joseph Longo – are members of Qantas’s invitation-only Chairman’s Lounge, a luxurious and controversial perk the airline gives to influential policymakers.

Five of the seven commissioners of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are members, including Cass-Gottlieb who is the chair, the regulator said in a statement.

On a sidebar, I note that the RRAT Supp Estimates Program for next week has (belatedly) just been published:

[Image: RRAT-1.jpg]

[Image: RRAT-2.jpg]

[Image: RRAT-3.jpg]

[Image: RRAT-4.jpg]

MTF...P2  Tongue

RRAT Supp Estimates - Aviation: 23/10/23

Courtesy the APH, in pictures:   

Hansard etc. to follow in coming days... Wink

MTF...P2  Tongue

RRAT Supp Estimates - Aviation: 23/10/23 - MKII

Hansard out, see - HERE - or PDF Version - HERE:

Quote:Senator McKENZIE: I want to move to aviation. Ms Purvis-Smith or Mr Betts, on what date did the minister first ask the department to consider restoring the ACCC monitoring function of the domestic airline sector?

Ms Purvis-Smith : The discussions happened at ministerial level—

Senator McKENZIE: At ministerial level?

M s Purvis-Smith : between the Treasurer and Minister King. We can go through our interactions if you would like.

Senator McKENZIE: Yes. I would appreciate hearing when you and Treasury had a chat.

Ms Purvis-Smith : It started on 12 October. Treasury called us to advise that the Treasurer and Minister King had discussed re-establishing the ACCC airline price monitoring.

Senator McKENZIE: On 12 October?

Ms Purvis-Smith : Yes. On the 13th, the department met with the Treasury to discuss the details. Treasury provided to the department a draft letter and media release, on which we commented.

Senator McKENZIE: The media release was drafted when?

Ms Purvis-Smith : The 13th.

Senator McKENZIE: The 13th. Excellent. Usually when ministers make announcements they ask for an announcement brief. Did you provide the minister with an announcement brief?

Ms Purvis-Smith : We provided the draft letter and media release to our office at the same time as it was provided to the Treasurer's office.

S enator McKENZIE: Right—so the same time. When did the Treasurer and the minister jointly announce this change?

Ms Purvis-Smith : This was a letter. It was a letter, sent to the Prime Minister, jointly signed by the Treasurer and Minister King.

Senator McKENZIE: Asking that the ACCC monitoring be reinstated?

Ms Purvis-Smith : That's correct.

Senator McKENZIE: When did the Prime Minister agree that that was all okay?

Ms Werner : I don't have any information as to when the Prime Minister made a decision. The decision to resume the ACCC monitoring was announced on 18 October.

Senator McKENZIE: On the 18th—five days later. Okay. A brief was provided to Minister King on 5 June regarding the ACCC's final report, which we had a long debate about at the select committee inquiry. Minister King, in conjunction with the Treasurer, subsequently made the decision to reinstate that monitoring. Why did the department not let its minister know that that was also the opinion of the ACCC?

Ms Purvis-Smit h : After the Senate inquiry?

Senator McKENZIE: No. You will recall this, because during the inquiry people who wrote the brief couldn't remember they'd written the brief. A brief was given to Minister King on the outcome of the ACCC's final report. In the final report, the ACCC made commentary around this being something that should be continued, but none of that was actually in your brief to your minister.

Ms Purvis-Smith : I think from memory the wording in the ACCC report was that 'this reporting has been helpful', and we provided quite a detailed brief to the minister on that.

Senator McKENZIE: I read it.

Ms Purvis-Smith : We provided that briefing, and a decision had been made previously not to continue the ACCC monitoring.

Senator McKENZIE: In terms of the minister-to-minister conversations that happened prior to 12 October, is that the first the department knew that your minister was considering reinstating the ACCC monitoring?

Ms Werner : Yes, Senator.

Senator McKENZIE: Was that a call or an email from the minister's office to the department, or was it something that came via Treasury?

Ms Werner : We were called by Treasury.

Senator McKENZIE: And your minister was very happy with that, I'm assuming? She signed off on it.

Ms Purvis-Smith : Minister King was happy to reinstate the monitoring.

Senator McKENZIE: Right. So the minister accepted the department's advice in this instance? Yes. I will take that as a yes. I want to go to repatriation flights for Australians trapped in Israel. Can the department advise what airlines have repatriated Australians out of Israel in recent weeks?

Mr R Wood : There have been repatriation flights from Dubai with both Emirates and Qatar, and there was also—

Senator McKENZIE: Qatar Airways?

Mr R Wood : Yes, that's correct. There was also a flight via Qantas from Tel Aviv to London and a further flight from London to Australia. There have also been a number of flights out of Israel by the ADF and some commercial flights.

Senator McKENZIE: When you say 'commercial flights', do you mean in the course of regular aviation—

Mr R Wood : No, sorry, there have been charter flights from Israel to other locations as well. There's a small number of those which we haven't been involved in.

Senator McKENZIE: Charter flights, yes, thank you. Can you please give me the dates and passenger numbers on each flight?

Ms Purvis-Smith : Senator, I'll just let you know that we'll provide you with what we can.

Senator McKENZIE: I appreciate that.

Ms Purvis-Smith : DFAT takes the lead on this; we don't have all the details for all the flights or the passenger numbers. We will—

Senator McKENZIE: But what you have would be really helpful, thank you.

Mr R Wood : I'm just checking my notes, Senator. Just to add to what Ms Purvis Smith—

Senator McKENZIE: It's alright; I'll ask the assistant minister something while you're finding your notes.

Mr R Wood : I've found them now. There was an Emirates flight arriving in Sydney on Sunday 20 October. The advice I have is that it had 44 passengers on board, but that's to be confirmed.

Senator McKENZIE: That was Emirates flying from where?

Mr R Wood : From Dubai.

Senator McKENZIE: From Dubai into?

Mr R Wood : Into Sydney. On Tuesday 17 October, there was a Qantas flight from Dubai world airport in the UAE with an indicative passenger load of 252.

Senator McKENZIE: Was that into Sydney?

Mr R Wood : That's correct. And there was a further flight from London—no, sorry—

CHAIR: You said there was a Qatar flight?

Mr R Wood : There was a Qatar flight, that's what I was looking for. A Qatar flight arrived in Sydney on 17 October—again, from Dubai. The estimated number of passengers on board was 222. I'll just clarify that: because these are non-scheduled flights we don't have to approve them in advance, so we don't necessarily have the forward details of them. Airlines which are doing these flights are required to report within 14 days, although in these instances the airlines have provided advice in advance.

Senator McKENZIE: I only have three flights here: a Qatar Airways, a Qantas and an Emirates. Is that correct?

Mr R Wood : I believe that Qantas has done two flights: Dubai to Sydney and also London to Dubai. Sorry, that's—

Senator McKENZIE: Is the Dubai-London then London-Sydney one—

Mr R Wood : Carriage? Yes. Sorry, I'm just going to my notes. There was a Qantas flight that went from London to Dubai and then from Dubai to Sydney. The further flight by Qantas was a flight from Tel Aviv to London, leaving Tel Aviv on 14 October with an estimated 237 people on board.

Senator McKENZIE: Okay. Was there a London-Sydney flight?

Mr R Wood : Yes. There was one Qantas flight from Tel Aviv to London and another flight which went London-Dubai-Sydney. It had passengers from London and then picked up more passengers in Dubai.

Senator McKENZIE: Okay. There were 237 out of Israel into London. I assume that we took most of that passenger list into Dubai and then—

Mr R Wood : The number I have is 104, so about half that number—obviously.

Senator McKENZIE: So 104 went London-Dubai-Sydney?

Mr R Wood : That's correct. I'll clarify: 104 went on the leg from London to Dubai and from Dubai to Sydney there were 252. One would assume that all or most of those 104 stayed on board.

Senator McKENZIE: They didn't get off at Dubai.

Mr R Wood : You wouldn't have thought so.

Senator McKENZIE: Okay. What briefings did the department provide Minister King with in the last three weeks about the airlines available to assist with repatriation?

Ms Purvis-Smith : Because this is led by DFAT, the minister worked with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Minister Wong, and called the airlines. We know that the minister called Qantas and Virgin, asking whether they or their international partners could assist in the efforts to repatriate Australians looking to leave Israel.

We understand the minister's office also kept in close contact with the airlines and with minister Wong's office. We kept in contact because things were moving so quickly. We kept in contact with DFAT on a real-time basis and we kept in contact with the minister's office as things were moving quickly. DFAT had the lead in the sense that DFAT handle the procurement arrangements with the airlines. They also know, through their consular services, where people are and how many people have registered to be repatriated to Australia. They took the lead but we kept in contact with them. The Minister directly contacted the airlines and we kept in contact with Minister Wong and her office.

Senator McKENZIE: Who contacted the charter flight proponents?

Ms Purvis-Smith : I think that was DFAT. The other issue is defence: there were some ADF personnel. DFAT would have liaised with the Department of Defence and possibly also Home Affairs.

Senator McKENZIE: Probably Home Affairs?

Ms Purvis-S mith : They did liaise with the Department of Home Affairs—I do know that. Because they were the lead, we kept in contact. We didn't want to duplicate, for example, because things were moving so quickly on the need to talk to the same people about the same things.

Senator McKENZIE: When were those airlines contacted? You said the Minister rang Qantas and Virgin; what was the date of those two phone calls?

Ms Purvis-Smith : I think they were on 10 October.

Mr R Wood : I believe that's the case.

Senator McKENZIE: And then from the 10th, her office kept in contact with them?

Ms Purvis-Smith : That's my understanding.

Senator McKENZIE: Can I get an understanding of the cost of those flights?

Mr R Wood : We don't have that information; it's a matter for the Department of Home Affairs. They own that part of the process.

Senator McKENZIE: I am just trying to understand the process. If DFAT's doing the procurement, aren't they also in charge of bearing the cost?

Ms Purvis-S mith : Yes, I think it's DFAT.

Senator McKENZIE: Who pays for this?

Mr R Wood : To the extent that there is cost involved, it's a matter for DFAT. They hold the appropriation.

Senator McKENZIE: Not Home Affairs?

Mr R Wood : No, DFAT. Consular services are a clear responsibility of DFAT, and that falls within that area of responsibility.

Senator McKENZIE: Assistant Minister, there has been reticence, shall we say, from the government. There has been a lot of clapping for Qantas' role in the repatriation of Australians from a war zone. There has been little or no mention of Qatar Airways' involvement in getting Australians out of a war zone safely and securely. Are you thankful for Qatar Airways' involvement?

Senator WHITE: [inaudible]

Senator McKENZIE: You don't need to run a protection racket—Assistant Minister Brown is well across the brief.

CHAIR: It's not a protection racket.

Senator WHITE: We commend all carriers that—

Senator McKENZIE: 'All carriers' is the language we use unless we're talking about Qantas.

Senator Carol Brown: Not at all, Senator. Of course, all carriers that were involved in bringing Australians home safely are thanked.

Mr Betts : My understanding is that it was Qatar Airways who asked that the flight not be publicised by the government, so we respected that.

Senator McKENZIE: Yes, but now it is public, as are all—

Mr Betts : We were respectful of the request.

Senator McKENZIE: I appreciate that.

Senator WHITE: [inaudible]

Senator McKENZIE: Senator White, you do not need to run a protection racket.

Senator WHITE: I'm not running a protection racket    [inaudible]—

Senator McKENZIE: It's enough!

Senator WHITE: [inaudible] you publicised it.

Senator McKEN ZIE: The whole Australian public are very clear on the protection racket that's being run, and I'm pretty sure Qantas has shown itself to be big and bad enough to stand up on its own. Honestly!

CHAIR: Order! Just ask the questions.

Senator McKENZIE: I am, chair, but I keep getting interrupted.

CHAIR: You don't—there was one little spat there.

Senator McKENZIE: I'll let the Hansard reflect Senator White's significant interruptions.

CHAIR: Senator McKenzie, you have the call, will you just ask the questions, please!

Senator McKENZIE: When did Qatar Airways contact DFAT or the minister for transport's office?

Ms Purvis-Smith : I don't have that level of detail because DFAT were the lead. I know that DFAT put out an expression of interest process, and that they were in contact with Qatar Airways.

Senator McKENZIE: Moving to the Sydney Airport Demand Management Act, what are the grounds on which freight-carrying aircraft can gain a dispensation to fly during the night-time curfew of 11 pm to six am?

Mr McClure : The Sydney Airport Curfew Act specifies the types of aircraft that can operate through the curfew period in Sydney. It's basically an aircraft type Bae-146. But, under the act there is opportunity, where required, for the department to consider offering dispensations for other types of aircraft to operate in exceptional circumstances, which is what has been happening. It got generated at the start of COVID, and we're continuing that at the moment.

Senator Mc KENZIE: Who is able to grant the dispensation? Is that a departmental responsibility?

Mr McClure : It's the secretary's delegation down to appropriate officers in my branch.

Senator McKENZIE: Secretary, what is the process to apply for a dispensation? You delegate it?

Mr Betts : It's delegated, so he's better placed to speak to it than I am.

Mr McClure : We do dispensations for a whole range of curfew movements—planes that are delayed for various reasons. Specifically around the freight, we have been consulting so the dispensations are time limited and, well in advance, as they become due we consult with various industry stakeholders in the community group.

Senator McKENZIE: Like who?

Mr McClure : There are three primary freight carriers. ASL, who were formally Pionair; Team Global Express, which were previously Toll; and Qantas are the freight carriers who operate.

Senator McKENZIE: Sorry—Toll, Qantas?

Mr McClure : Pionair is probably, in Australia, a third of them. We talk to the likes of Australia Post and FedEx, who have much of the freight that gets moved. We provide information and discussions through the Sydney Airport Community Forum.

Senator McKENZIE: So you have consulted with community around these dispensations? Is this done as an individual dispensation?

Mr McClure : We've been doing the freight movements on a time limited period.

Senator McKENZIE: What's the time?

Mr McClure : The last dispensation we provided was for 12 months, basically from the middle of this year through to the middle of next year.

Senator McKENZIE: So July 2023 to July 2024?

Mr McClure : I think it's like 1 or 2 July through until that period next year.

Senator McKE NZIE: Did you consult the community about that dispensation?

Mr McClure : We consult through the Sydney Airport Community Forum.

Senator McKENZIE: What does that mean? As we've discussed in this committee for years, we've had airports that have not behaved well around the level of community consultation, so what does 'We consult through the Sydney airport' mean?

Mr McClure : It's not the airport; it's the community forum, which is the designated community group for Sydney airport.

Senator McKENZIE: Does the department send somebody, or do you rely on someone else to do the consultation?

Mr McClure : We send information out to them. That forum is made up of a number of community members, but then federal representatives from electorates that are around Sydney airport—

Senator McKENZIE: Community members—are they local councils or—

Mr McClure : Local government, state government, federal government and some designated community members.

Senator McKENZIE: And they get a pamphlet from you?

Mr McClure : No. They meet regularly, so we have opportunity to discuss with them. Otherwise, we've got a mechanism to send emails where we send information out that we're considering whether exemptions need to continue as they come due.

Senator McKENZIE: Is the community impacted by this 12-month free-for-all aware that that's happening?

Mr McClure : Yes.

Senator McKENZIE: They're aware? What are the exceptional circumstances that exist right now? I appreciate COVID was an exceptional circumstance. What are the exceptional circumstances that you granted this dispensation on?

Mr McClure : The original consideration of opening up freight flights to upgauged aircraft came during COVID, and COVID was the trigger. Basically, the consideration was whether the overnight air freight market in and out of Sydney could be viably maintained within the confines of the curfew act. So, at the time, because there was only one specified aircraft, which is an older aircraft—basically there are about 17 functional BA 146 aircraft in Australia. COVID was the first consideration, but since then we've looked at impacts that have flowed from COVID, things like challenges with getting crews and pilots. As you'd be aware, we've got very much a food chain when it comes to international, Qantas, Virgin, regional, down to overnight freight, which is fairly well down the pecking order for crews and pilots. And—

Senator McKENZIE: What are the exceptional circumstances?

Mr McClure : The exception circumstance—

Senator McKENZIE: There's no global pandemic.

Mr McClure : We have made the determination on an ongoing basis that the freight task out of Sydney cannot be maintained within the refines of the Sydney curfew act.

Senator McKENZIE: So, of the 17 aircraft that are able to be approved, who owns those 17? What's the breakdown of that?

Mr McClure : They are divided between Pionair and a group called Jet Express, which are a subsidiary of Qantas. They have—

Senator McKENZIE: So Qantas Group and Pionair are beneficiaries of this decision?

Mr McClure : No, they're not benefiting from it, because we are allowing aircraft of a different nature than they own to operate. They have the compliant aircraft, but we haven't been satisfied that just using those aircraft would be sufficient to maintain what is a fairly sophisticated airfreight network.

Senator McKENZIE: So what are the airlines that have benefited from this decision then?

Mr McClure : That would be Toll, Team Global Express and Qantas are using upgauged aircraft.

Senator McKENZIE: Toll and Qantas.

Mr McClure : They're the carriers—

Senator McKENZIE: I appreciate it.

Senator RICE: Exceptional circumstances [inaudible] and Qantas.

Mr McClure : Exceptional circumstances is to maintain an airfreight core network.

Senator McKENZIE: I just want to go to the process of granting the dispensation. Has the department sought legal advice on this dispensation, given the lack of exceptional circumstances?

Mr McClure : As I said, it commenced with COVID when we made the determination around the inability to maintain a viable network, and we've followed that process each time we've considered the extension.

Senator McKENZIE: Have you got legal advice around your right to grant this dispensation, given the lack of exceptional circumstances?

Mr McClure : The last time we made the approval was in July. Because we've had discussions with the Sydney Airport Community Forum—and we have run a bit of a session on Friday with member of that forum and the group—we did recently look to get legal advice to check on the position that we were taking.

Senator McKENZIE: Have you received that legal advice?

Mr McClure : We have.

Senator McKENZIE: You have. Are you prepared to table?

Mr McClure : Legal and privilege—

Senator McKENZIE: No legal and privilege. You'd better know what you're claiming before you say it, Mr McClure.

Ms Purvis-Smith : We'll have to take that on notice.

Mr McClure : We'll have to take that on notice.

Senator McKENZIE: So you had legal advice. In the absence of it being able to be tabled, does the legal advice say, Mr McClure, that you were able to make this dispensation or not?

Ms Purvis-Smith : It's more difficult than that. That's not a binary decision.

Senator McKENZIE: It's a binary decision to grant a dispensation or not.

Ms Purvis-Smith : I understand. That is right. I would also like to clarify that one of the issues that Mr McClure went through in terms of the exceptional circumstances was the age of the BAe 146 aircraft. If we can't crew the BAe 146 aircraft, we cannot maintain the freight—

Senator McKENZIE: Which is why it beggars belief that the department hasn't recommended to the minister that she review and change the act so that it's more functional rather than granting dispensations that may or may not be legal. How often are the flights that you've approved, Mr McClure?

Mr McClure : Currently up to 80 movements are permitted every week.

Senator McKENZIE: And this is during curfew?

Mr McClure : It's during the curfew period, yes. The act allows 74, so there are an extra six movements.

Senator McKENZIE: On top of the act? At what time? Do you have the times that these flights occur?

Mr McClure : I'm not 100 per cent sure. The idea of the airfreight is that a lot of goods are collected through the day and taken out to the airport, and a plane will leave early morning. It's got to meet distribution points in Melbourne and in other parts of the country, like Brisbane, so it's a fairly sophisticated market that has timings where freight can get to regional centres and to all the major cities across Australia. Sydney is the biggest city, which generates the most freight.

Senator McKENZIE : Did you advise the minister of the decision you made? Is there some obligation, as a delegated decision-maker, to inform Mr Betts up the line and then for Mr Betts to inform Minister King?

Mr McClure : We provided advice to the minister. I haven't got the data—I'm sorry, Senator—but, at some point, when we continued the dispensations after the worst of COVID had abated, we provided advice that we were continuing to consider those dispensations in a rolling program as they fell due.

Senator McKENZIE: Mr McClure, you've approved a dispensation that runs for 12 months. I'm less than impressed with the level of consultation that was undertaken. I'm not confident that, if I went into the community, they'd be happy. Does Minister King know that this has happened?

Mr McClure : I'm not sure Minister King is aware of the 12-month dispensation as such.

Senator McKENZIE: Mr Betts, is Minister King aware?

Mr Betts : I'd say that, from what Mr McClure has said, he alerted the minister up front to the way in which the delegation operated, and it is a delegation from the secretary. Beyond that, I can't comment.

Mr McClure : I should add that all these are tabled in parliament, so we're not hiding the fact. All the dispensation approvals are tabled in parliament.

Senator McKENZIE: But usually ministers like to know things are going to be tabled in their area of responsibility before they're tabled.

Mr McClure : There's a process for the tabling.

Senator McKENZIE: Would it have to go up to the minister's office prior to tabling, or can you just table without her knowing?

Mr McClure : To be honest, I'm not 100 per cent sure how the tabling works, but it goes through our ministerial parliament services.

Senator McKENZIE: You mentioned, in the level of consultation, that local members were informed; is that correct?

Mr McClure : They're part of the Sydney Airport Community Forum.

Senator McKENZIE: Was Matt Thistlethwaite informed?

Mr McClure : He was aware.

Senator McKENZIE: Was the member for Grayndler aware?

Mr McClure : His electorate is a member of SACF, yes.

Senator McKENZIE: So the Prime Minister knew this was happening, but we're not sure the minister knew this was happening.

Mr McClure : I don't know exactly what level of knowledge people have, but the federal members that are in Sydney that could potentially be impacted by the airport are on the Sydney Airport Community Forum email list.

Senator McKENZIE: So Anthony Albanese is on that list?

Mr McClure : His electorate is, so it goes to his office.

Senator McKE NZIE: Matt Thistlethwaite?

Mr McClure : That's right.

Senator McKENZIE: The member for North Sydney, whichever teal that is?

Mr McClure : Yes.

Mr Betts : The member for Sutherland.

Senator McKENZIE: That would be Cook. Anybody else?

Mr McClure : Yes.

Mr Betts : This isn't a secret; we can get you the names.

Senator McKENZIE: But it does seem that some people knew, Mr Betts, and others didn't.

Mr Betts : That's because of the nature of them being local federal members.

Senator McKENZIE: This is a concern that the minister potentially knew, and I'm yet to receive a response—

Mr Betts : The minister is the member for Ballarat. We're talking about geographically defined membership.

Senator McKENZIE: I appreciate that, but you're tabling a dispensation for 12 months for additional flights in a curfew period, and the minister doesn't know.

Mr Betts : It's in accordance with the legislation and the delegations which are in place to do that, and the minister was briefed on the nature of those delegations.

Senator McKENZIE: Ms Purvis-Smith, given your interjection earlier about the problems with the existing legislation, has the department ever suggested to this minister or any previous minister that this legislation is out of date and it would be a hell of a lot easier for Mr McClure and whoever held the delegated authority prior to him if this legislation were updated?

Ms Purvis-Smith : I'm not sure about whether advice on that has ever been provided. But we are looking at making changes through a range of processes including the slot management reforms and the sunsetting legislation process.

Senator McKENZIE: The Harris review sits on the desk of the minister, who refuses to act on it, and we've all got to wait until after the next election for some slots out of Sydney. Is it not the case, Mr McClure, that your dispensations favour Qantas?

Mr McClure : No. I wouldn't say they favour Qantas. They're absolutely one of the providers, but what we're trying to do is maintain a freight network that benefits everybody who relies on that for goods.

Senator McKENZIE: I appreciate that, Mr McClure, but the outcome of your dispensation is that one airline is actually getting the lion's share of benefit.

Mr McClure : There's been no change to what Qantas already had; I can't remember the exact number of 74. Qantas has been a longstanding overnight freight provider, so they have always had the ability to fly the freight flights.

Senator McKENZIE: And we're continuing to uphold their market share. Thank you. Chair, I have no further questions in this area.

Quote:CHAIR: Welcome back, everyone! I welcome officers from CASA. I won't ask for opening statements; if you have one you can table it. Senator Fawcett, who is 60 today, has the call. Happy birthday—there's no better way to spend it than at Senate estimates!

Senator FAWCETT: We won't be asking for your age, either, Ms Spence, you'll be glad to hear!

Ms Spence : Happy birthday, Senator!

Senator FAWCETT: Thank you. In fact, this does actually take me back a little bit. I'm assuming that in preparation for your role you read through the Hansard transcripts of many years and that you're aware that between 2014 and 2017 your predecessors and I had many discussions about colour-vision-deficient pilots?

Ms Spence : Yes.

CHAIR: I'm aware of it!

Senator FAWCETT: Eventually, as you'd be aware, in February 2020 your predecessor, Mr Carmody, announced something to the world, which I will read from the statement that he sent out:

Research in recent years has shown relying on diagnostic tests alone may be unnecessarily limiting when considering the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety. Advances in technology, operating techniques and human factors training can now mitigate many of the safety risks of colour vision deficiency. Technology to assist pilots has developed significantly and the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety should take these changes into account.

At the end of his statement he said:

CASA has carefully examined all relevant safety issues and believes this new approach—

Which is the same as in New Zealand and for the FAA—

offers a practical alternative assessment for colour vision deficient pilots. We have listened to the views of pilots and made judgements based on research and evidence.

That is a fantastic outcome. They changed the lot of pilots, which had been thrown into confusion by a new senior medical officer within CASA who didn't like Australia's position, which was to allow pilots to do an operational test. Despite losing AAT cases et cetera and despite reviews of evidence that finally proved we should do this operational test, like the New Zealanders and the FAA, it's all happening again. Could you explain why CASA is spending half a million dollars on a review? What is the evidence base to justify this change of position? What incidents have occurred? What evidence has led to the decision to spend half a million dollars of taxpayers' money and overturn what has been in the CASRs for some years now, to the detriment of a group of individuals in our aviation community?

Ms Spence : I wouldn't describe it in the same way that you have, in terms of someone coming in and not supporting the previous position. I will ask our principal medical officer if she wouldn't mind joining us at the table, but I think the first thing really is that it's a question about what's consistent with the standards versus what's okay from an operational perspective. I don't think we've changed our position that there aren't ways of overcoming the issue of colour blindness from an operational perspective. I think there is a different question about whether that is consistent with the standards, and that's a harder question to answer, so I might pass to Dr Manderson to provide a bit more detail.

Senator FAWCETT: Dr Manderson, welcome.

Dr Manderson : Thank you very much. Regarding the colour vision assessment, what we found a couple years ago, and going back a bit before that, was that there was a lot of difficulty and confusion in how that colour vision assessment was being applied by the flight instructors who were assessing the pilots with colour vision deficiencies and in how the pilots themselves knew what they would be expected to demonstrate in their flights. We had some difficulties where the forms and the flights were not being conducted to a consistent standard across the board. Someone might have one kind of flight or assessment with one assessor and a completely different one with somebody else. With that degree of confusion and lack of clarity, we realised that, having established that an operational flight based assessment was really important, how we did that was where there was a big gap in what we were doing and why we were doing it, and it was that gap that led to all of that confusion and some difficulties in what standard was being met by whom and when. That's why we saw that gap in the how that hadn't been filled by any of those other organisations or jurisdictions.

We've consulted really quite extensively. Even last Friday we had an international meeting here in Canberra with our colleagues from FAA, New Zealand and ICAO. The United States military have come across as well to share their experiences with us and how we do it now. There really is a global consensus that the approach we've taken is world leading and will make a big difference to the consistent application of a good standard that our instructors and pilots can rely on to make a safe decision.

Senator FAWCETT: Sure. I don't have a problem with standardisation. I think that's excellent. I do note my understanding is that New Zealand did have a course to standardise their examiners, which we didn't adopt, even though we adopted their operational test. Am I correct in my understanding of that?

Dr Manderson : I'm not familiar with the detail of the way the New Zealand team initially applied theirs, but they're certainly very excited about looking at what we're doing and learning from what we're doing. That's because we have gone to the next level. There's much more depth and it's much more comprehensive. The CAA New Zealand chief medical officer is very interested in learning from what we've done.

Senator FAWCETT: My understanding is that, because we didn't have any standardisation initially, the initial batch of flight examiners went to New Zealand to get their training there. In fact, we encouraged or enabled it, saying that, if pilots wished to bear the cost to go to New Zealand to be tested by the New Zealanders, we would accept that as a valid system that did have standardisation and did the test. I don't have a problem with standardisation. What I have a problem with is this. When I look at your website, we have gone back to the days of saying: if you pass the operational test, we are still going to limit you in terms of what you can do as a pilot; for example, fly as or with a copilot. Given everything Mr Carmody said, everything the AAT found and cases back in ancient history—30 years ago now—when Australia became a world leader, what evidence justifies that imposition of a restriction on someone who passes the operational test?

Dr Manderson: The evidence is based around the demonstration of being able to do the elements of the flying task that have been assessed by this international group of expert pilots and flying instructors as being the time-critical, safety-critical colour-vision-dependent tasks of the flying task. That was a gap that was there in the work that was done leading up to the New Zealand assessment that we've now been able to produce. It is not about the medical diagnosis; it is what it is with the diagnosis of colour vision deficiency. The evidence is now about being able to know exactly how that medical status affects a person's fitness to fly and fly safely. That's exactly the same as we do with people with kidney disease, hearing deficiency or heart disease. They don't meet the standard, but now we can—in very great detail and very safely—effectively and consistently assess whether or not the way they meet the standard presents a hazard to safe air navigation. That's the way we do all of our medical assessments.

Senator FAWCETT: In theory that is fine. What you're describing is that your test is now focusing on some discrete task elements that you believe are important. But what your website says is that even if someone passes that test—they've now jumped through these additional hoops of specific tasks—you're still going to put limitations on what they can exercise as captain in command of an aircraft. What is the evidence to justify those limitations? That is my question.

Mr Marcelja : Could I jump in? The website and some of that information sits in my area. I think what you're describing, if that is correct, is not our policy. Our policy is that there are various conditions that we can put on medical certificates, depending on how you go in the test, but if you pass the test and can demonstrate that you're operationally safe there is no condition of a copilot. What Dr Manderson is saying, though, is that, because you have not met a medical standard that's internationally accepted but have proven you are safe, we will grant you a medical certificate. We can't say that you've met a standard but we can say you're safe to fly, and those conditions will be applied depending on the way you've gone. If that's on our website, I'll take that up, because that's not the policy.

Senator FAWCETT: I have two points. I think it was amply proven almost a decade ago, and two decades before that, as we dug into the history, that those standards emerged from maritime standards that were applied in the United Kingdom in the days of Sopwith Camels and things in World War 1, and the reason we no longer require them is that we have secondary means of communication. We've demonstrated through a whole range of flight profiles and cockpit modifications, particularly with the advent of EFIS screens et cetera, that many of the old colour hierarchies around warnings et cetera are no longer relevant. They're not required to do the task. Even the red and green lights are not required. Pilots wear Bluetooth headsets.

I come back to the fact that your website—at this stage, this is what industry is seeing—states that a pilot who passes the test will have these restrictions until they have 100 hours of flight at night, the ATPL standard, or 75 hours of instrument time. I've done just a very quick bit of research on the current costing of something like a Cessna 172RG, which is the kind of aircraft for night VFR or instrument flying, the costs between Moorabbin, Dubbo, Adelaide and Sunshine Coast vary from about $250 to $355, excluding GST. We're putting a burden on pilots who want to enter the industry of $30,000 to $40,000, and I'm not aware of any evidence that would justify those restrictions if they have passed the operational test.

Ms Spence : I think what we're saying is that we think our website's wrong. We will go back to review it, because that doesn't sound like our policy. As Dr Manderson said, we're working—and we're working internationally—looking at how we manage this issue. But the whole point, in the simplest terms, was that if you pass the test then you've got a permission to fly. Those sorts of conditions you've just described should not be applying. If you can bear with us, we'll review the website, because what you've read out just doesn't sound right.

Senator FAWCETT: I'll have a look tomorrow afternoon. I'll be very pleased to see that gone. This is my last question. My understanding is that, in accordance with the regulation—which I could look up; I've got it written here somewhere, but I'm sure you know what it is—CASA was still advising pilots to do the operational test, which they did at some cost, and then AvMed were denying them an aircrew medical because CASA had changed its mind, even though the regulation still said it was possible and even though pilots have been directed to that. Some pilots now, over periods in excess of 12 months, have forked out thousands of dollars to take a flight test and have had their application refused. What is the situation for people who have previously done it, before this change in approach? What is the situation for those who did it in the intervening period, when the regulation said they would be approved? They committed to a flight test on that basis and have now been told they're not able to fly. What is CASA going to do to enable those people to move ahead with their lives, and can you guarantee there's going to be no retrospective action against the many pilots who did the original operational flight test as announced in 2020 and have been flying—single-pilot, in RFDS type operations, and multi-pilot, in RPT operations, both domestically and overseas—without incident since they got their medicals? Can you guarantee that they will be able to continue to exercise the qualifications that they have earned in accordance with the regulation, or will there be any retrospective action that CASA is looking to impose upon them?

Ms Spence : Can I just jump in first: if you've got people who've come to you saying that they haven't been approved, I would really encourage you to refer them to me, Mr Marcelja or Dr Manderson, because that doesn't sound like that's consistent with our policy. I would have thought, with medicals, that they're things that come up every two years or whatever, depending on where you are, and so there would be no retrospective requirements. If matters change over time then get your medical renewed, but there's certainly not an intention to have a retrospective element to all of this. Again, for anyone who's spoken to you and said that they've been refused on the grounds that you've described, please encourage them to talk to us, because that just doesn't sound right.

Senator FAWCETT: This is my last question, Chair, before you wind me up. Industry had been told that the new test and all of its conditions would be released in September this year. We're now approaching the end of October. Where are we at, and when will these people have some certainty about their future or current careers?

Mr Marcelja : We have slowed that down just a little bit because we're working through some of those implementation issues that you just mentioned. As Ms Spence said, we don't expect people to automatically have to prove things themselves, but, where we've discovered that a test maybe has some uncertainty around it, we might ask somebody to do that test again. In that circumstance, we would fund that. These are the policies that we haven't yet settled, which is why you haven't seen a policy come out. They haven't been finalised, but they're very close. As Ms Spence said, we'd very happily follow up any individual case where someone's been disadvantaged, because our understanding was that the existing scheme was in place while we were settling the new one.

Ms Spence : As far as my understanding goes, no-one has been refused—

Dr Manderson : There have been no refusals or cancellations for colour vision deficiency.

Senator FA WCETT: Okay. I'll go back to the email trail that I have been given and see if I can see whether there's substance to what was reflected in that email. If that's the case, I will come to you, Ms Spence, as the best person to—

Ms Spence : That'd be great. Thanks, Senator.

Note the following from the Kingston City Council prior to Miniscule Dicky King's bollocks masterplan decision:

Quote:Future of aviation at Moorabbin Airport hangs in the balance

Published on 24 August 2023

[Image: moorabbin-airport.jpg?dimension=pageimage&w=480]

The future of Moorabbin Airport is on a knife edge with aviation businesses kept in the dark and fearing for their survival.

Aviation businesses celebrated when a proposed 5-year Masterplan for the site was refused by former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce in 2022 due to growing concerns that aviation businesses were being pushed out in favour of factory developments.

These developments have progressively eroded aviation, despite it being the core purpose for the Commonwealth-owned land.

The Moorabbin Airport Corporation was sent back to the drawing board but has argued current legislation does not require it to share any details on the updated plans for the site with aviation businesses, residents, or Kingston Council.

Kingston Mayor Hadi Saab said it was utterly ridiculous that a Masterplan for a significant airport was not shown to neighbouring residents or tenants on-site particularly when it directly impacts their business survival or allows large warehouses against residents’ boundaries.

Moorabbin Airport, located in Melbourne’s south-east just 25km from the CBD, is Australia’s second busiest airport averaging 295,000 movements per year and is responsible for the training of about 25% of Australia’s pilots.

“The Federal Government is due to rule on the Masterplan at any time, yet neighbouring residents have no idea how their homes may be impacted and aviation businesses on the site have been left in the dark about their future,” Cr Saab said.

“This is clearly unfair. One of the reasons the first draft was refused was due to a lack of consultation. How can anyone say there has been consultation when key stakeholders have not been shown any new designs since the first draft was refused.”

Council sought legal advice from one of Australia’s top Kings Counsels who has questioned the approach the Airport has taken and disagrees that further consultation is not required after the first draft.

Moorabbin Airport Chamber of Commerce President Rob Simpson said the first draft of the Masterplan had large areas of the airport land currently used for aviation set aside for large industrial/ commercial uses.

“Australia needs a strong aviation industry, but aviation businesses are being pushed out in favour of warehouses,” Mr Simpson said.

“There is a global pilot shortage and now is the perfect opportunity to boost strong pilot training services, but businesses have no certainty they will have any room at the airport.”

Kingston Council, aviation businesses and nearby residents have flagged concerns about growing factory development at the site for a number of years which would result in:

Reducing space for aviation at the site and increasing safety risks.
Long-standing aviation businesses that are reliant on being located on the airport may be forced to close.
Neighbouring homes facing huge factories being over the fence, with no planning protections embedded in the Masterplan which require a Major Development Plan trigger to be used to ensure a robust and prescribed consultation on any such proposals.
Loss of highly respected pilot training services which provide qualified, safe pilots for the industry.
“We are simply calling for development at Moorabbin Airport to be properly managed in a way that protects aviation at the site, respects neighbouring homes and does not increase safety risks at the site. Buildings should be located away from homes and should leave plenty of open space for emergency landings,” Cr Saab said.

Cr Saab said Kingston Council and aviation businesses had taken their concerns directly to the Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King, who oversees the department that will provide advice on the Masterplan.

“We have been pleased to meet with Minister King twice to raise concerns and we hope that a Masterplan is not approved until proper consultation occurs and that the plan is safe, sets aside more space for existing and future aviation activities and includes buffer zones between warehouses and neighbouring homes.”

Proper strategic planning requires that the site’s primary purpose as an airport is prioritised.

“There is a strong history of refusing inappropriate airport development with Anthony Albanese previously refusing masterplans for both Bankstown (2011) and Canberra (2008) airports and blocking plans for inappropriate commercial development here at Moorabbin Airport (2013). An airport and the industries on it are not something you can easily replace,” Cr Saab said.

And then after the decision:

Quote:Media Statement - Moorabbin Airport Masterplan

Published on 07 September 2023

Council is pleased to see that significant changes have been made to the Moorabbin Airport Masterplan to protect the future of aviation at the site.

We’re hopeful for clear skies ahead following a successful campaign by aviation businesses and Kingston Council to secure the future of aviation at Moorabbin Airport.

The new masterplan was released yesterday, and Council will discuss the details with the Moorabbin Airport Chamber of Commerce in coming days, but our first impressions are largely positive.

We are pleased to see the masterplan guarantees no decrease in land dedicated to aviation purposes and that commercial warehouses are prohibited in these areas – which were some of our key concerns with the earlier draft masterplan. Commercial uses have grown at the site with a reduction in aviation space in successive masterplans.

We are pleased that Minister King listened to the concerns of aviation businesses and Council which resulted in much-needed improvements being made.

However, Council is deeply disappointed that the masterplan continues to offer no protection for neighbouring homeowners who may face largescale warehouses towering over their homes.

We are pleased that the Minister’s review of aviation has commenced and hope it results in critical changes to ensure the rights of aviation businesses, neighbouring homes and critical safety issues are properly addressed through updated legislation.

It is utterly absurd that aviation businesses were kept in the dark about the contents of the masterplan and new legislation is needed to make sure proper and transparent engagement takes place when deciding the future of planning on what remains Commonwealth-owned land.

Finally this was the Kingston Council's excellent presentation to the now kyboshed GA Inquiry:

MTF...P2  Tongue

Estimates DITRDCA: 23/10/23 - Corporate Affairs, Betts the 928K MAN?

My apologies being a bit slow getting this up, the following are video grabs from Corporate session of the Dept at supplementary Senate Estimates. In particular the first video IMO clearly outlines the sheer arrogancy of Secretary EWB (note the EWB body language)... Dodgy

For those interested - HERE - is the Hansard for that session.

Also for those interested a link for the, often referred to, DITRDCA 'Capability Report'

[Image: DITRDCA-1.jpg]

[Image: DITRDCA-2.jpg]

Finally, while on the Senate and Aviation industry related, I note that Senator McKenzie had a win in the Senate Chamber on Monday... Wink

Quote:The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (16:13): We now come to a deferred vote. I remind senators that, after 4.30 pm on Thursday 19 October 2023, a division was called on the motion moved by Senator McKenzie relating to the Albanese government. I understand it suits the convenience of the Senate for the deferred vote to be held now. The question is:

That the Senate expresses its concern at the Albanese Labor Government's rank hypocrisy when it comes to its promises of being a more accountable and transparent government, as demonstrated by its failure to be honest with Australians about why it rejected the application by Qatar Airways to have more international flights, and its failure to be transparent about the use of Special Purpose Aircraft flights.

MTF...P2 Tongue

We’ve come to this:-
“continue its work to re -shape and reform Australia’s media landscape and Australia Post in the digital era.”

Our taxes hard at work.

Got to have work for 1963 employees, and keep up the pay differential as per ABS statistics where Canberra’s average wage is 40% higher than the remainder of Australia.

Airbus Albo dodges Dai Le Fuel Excise QWN: 13/11/23

Watch Airbus Albo firstly dodge the question then deploy the cowardly tactic to sit down and end his answer to independent MP Dai Le's point of order on her fuel excise QWN - Hansard extract:

Quote:Ms LE (Fowler) (15:13): Prime Minister, families are paying over $2 per litre at the pump today, which is increasing costs and inflation across the supply chain. It's one of the reasons interest rates have increased, which is hurting working Australians immensely. Fuel prices will go up and down, but a cut to fuel excise would lower costs and reduce inflation now. Why won't the government reduce the fuel excise at a time when it has a budget surplus and provide instant cost-of-living and mortgage relief to families, especially in Western Sydney?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Prime Minister) (15:14): I give the call to the Prime Minister. I thank the member for Fowler for her question, and I certainly acknowledge that so many people, including in her electorate, are doing it tough at the moment as a result of a range of factors, not the least of which is what has happened with oil, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine but also, we know, with the Middle East crisis, which is being undertaken—

The SPEAKER: The member for O'Connor is warned. If he interjects one more time, he'll leave the chamber. The Prime Minister will be heard in silence.

Mr ALBANESE: We inherited, when we came to office, a decision of the former government that they put in their budget in March 2022—a limited-time pause on fuel indexation. They put that limited period there because, when it comes to the issue of petrol indexation, one of the concerns in the economy, including from the Reserve Bank, which feeds into interest rates is how much cash there is in the economy. So we have purposefully targeted cost-of-living relief through the increase in payments, which the Minister for Social Services spoke about earlier today and the Minister for Health and Aged Care also spoke about, with cheaper medicines and the tripling of the bulk billing incentive. We have very consciously targeted the relief at families, through child care relief as well. We will always look at measures to—

The SPEAKER: Order, the Prime Minister will pause. There's far too much noise. The member for Fowler on a point of—the Prime Minister has concluded his answer.

AA has form in cowardly dodging questions pertaining to his responsibilities as a Minister of the Crown. Rewind to August 2013 and the AA non-response to the serious findings of the Senate PelAir report:

References: Senators Slam Government over Report Silence

Remember that Airbus Albo had $250k reasons not to address the PelAir report: Tenth Anniversary of the Senate PelAir report and what's changed??

And now we have Miniscule Dicky King running interference on her decision to block Qatar Airways application for extra flight access to the 4 major Australian airports. Via the Oz/SkyNews Oz:


Transport and Infrastructure Minister Catherine King discusses why her department blocked from releasing to Sky News a departmental submission recommending action over Qatar Airways’ application for additional flights into Australia. The Department of Foreign Affairs warned the document’s release would “damage” Australia’s “international relations” with the Qatar government. “These are bilateral agreements between governments; they are not commercial arrangements; they are bilateral agreements between governments and that information is important that governments are able to talk with each other about those bilateral agreements,” Ms King told Sky News Australia. “They are bilateral agreements between governments, and we don’t generally release that advice. “We don’t release advice between two governments, we don’t release that, that is the same reason it wasn’t released in the Senate.” Ms King said she “stands by the decision” to block Qatar Airways’ application to expand flights into Australia on July 10.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Catherine King discusses why her department blocked from releasing to Sky News a departmental submission recommending action over Qatar Airways’ application for additional flights into Australia. The Department of Foreign Affairs warned the document’s release would “damage” Australia’s “international relations” with the Qatar government. “These are bilateral agreements between governments; they are not commercial arrangements; they are bilateral agreements between governments and that information is important that governments are able to talk with each other about those bilateral agreements,” Ms King told Sky News Australia. “They are bilateral agreements between governments, and we don’t generally release that advice. “We don’t release advice between two governments, we don’t release that, that is the same reason it wasn’t released in the Senate.” Ms King said she “stands by the decision” to block Qatar Airways’ application to expand flights into Australia on July 10.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Catherine King discusses why her department blocked from releasing to Sky News a departmental submission recommending action over Qatar Airways’ application for additional flights into Australia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs warned the document’s release would “damage” Australia’s “international relations” with the Qatar government.

“These are bilateral agreements between governments; they are not commercial arrangements; they are bilateral agreements between governments and that information is important that governments are able to talk with each other about those bilateral agreements,” Ms King told Sky News Australia.

“They are bilateral agreements between governments, and we don’t generally release that advice.

“We don’t release advice between two governments, we don’t release that, that is the same reason it wasn’t released in the Senate.”

Ms King said she “stands by the decision” to block Qatar Airways’ application to expand flights into Australia on July 10.

MTF...P2  Tongue

PS: PASSING STRANGE?? - In follow up to this post:  Miniscule Dicky King trainwreck interview: Skerritt the panacea for Transport Safety agencies?? I note that there is still not a Skerritt of an official announcement/Media Release by the Miniscule in relation to the 24 October Department initiated ' Australian Transport Safety and Investigation Bodies Financial Sustainability Review'... Dodgy

Supplementary Estimates QON publishedRolleyes

Senator McKenzie have been busy composing hundreds of additional written QON - see HERE - much to the horror of Secretary EWB, there is (at this stage) a total of 462 Supplementary Budget Estimates addressed to the Secretary's Department and associated agencies - WOW!  Big Grin

For our supposedly statutorily independent aviation safety agencies:

Airservices 32 QON:


























1. Overtime hours from Air Traffic Controllers from the numbers in 2019 to 2023, with Sydney's average overtime hours per Air Traffic Controller increasing by 46% per fortnight, Brisbane by 173%, and Melbourne by 30% between those years. Is the reason for this the relative decrease in the amount of Air Traffic Controllers between those two periods to deal with flight volume?
2. What is Air Services doing to ensure that overtime hours from Air Traffic Controllers don't become excessive?
3. Is there a risk from Air Traffic Controllers working too much overtime, and what is Air Services doing to mitigate this risk where possible?




1. Most of the cancellations and delays were in regional areas. Could you please explain why there were 546 impacted flights in Ballina? 370 flights impacted in Alice Spring?
2. And what is the explanation for Airservices Australia's gold record for flights impacted at Albury Airport with 783 flights impacted?
3. Adelaide and Hobart had just one flight impacted by Airservices Australia and Albury 783?


1. In terms of air traffic controllers taking sick leave, what is the latest data you have on this?
2. What does ASA do to manage the high level of sick day leave? My understanding is that management suggests air traffic controllers actively discourage sick days being taken. What about those people who aren't taking sick leave at all? What is the psychological-social pressures on those that never take sick leave?



1. ATCs who are on long service leave?
2. ATCs who are on long-term leave for ill-health?
3. Middle managers who are doing administrative/supervisory duties rather than being ''at the controls''?
4. What about ATCs who are working through long-term health issues? Are they counted?
5. What about a person who was getting treatment for leukemia? Would they be still counted?
6. How is the shortage of ATCs impacting on general aviation, such as parachuting and ballooning?


1. The RIS (the Retirement Incentive Scheme 2021) was clearly a disaster because there was no follow up plan, what is ASA doing to get qualified, ready-for-work ATCs to close the staff shortages that are creating havoc with flights particularly in regional Australia?
2. What actions are you considering to re-deploy recently RISed Air Traffic Controllers who could with a short retraining period, be re-engaged?
3. Surely this would be a quicker way of getting more people with a Yellow Book rather than waiting to train up new recruits which takes 16-24 months at a minimum?










1. Chief Commissioner 's review 2021-22 states that ATSB 'flagged our ongoing concern about collisions between trading ships and small vessels on the Australian coast' following an incident in February 2020. What additional actions have been taken to mitigate the risk of these collisions?
2. In 2021-22 the ATSB failed to meet the performance criterion that '85% of safety issues [are] addressed in the previous financial year'. Given that only 74% of safety issues were addressed in 2021-22, what needs to happen to meet this performance criterion?
3. In 2021-22 the ATSB missed its target median times to complete short (8 months), defined (16 months) and systemic (22 months) investigations. How can ATSB investigations be completed within the target times?
4. Despite a substantial increase in air traffic, the ATSB received approximately $500,000 less in government funding in 2021-22 compared to 2020-21. Did this impact the agency's functions?




What proportion of time and budget did the ATSB work on the independent investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences in 2021-22??


1. What proportion of time and budget did the ATSB work on safety data recording, analysis and research in 2021-22??


What proportion of time and budget did the ATSB work on fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action in 2021-22??












1. In response to Question on Notice 159 of the 2022-23 Supplementary Budget Estimates you stated that the was no evidence that there are insufficient Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, and only said that there were anecdotal reports suggesting delays due to limited supply. This is in direct contradiction to the evidence in the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel's ASAP Technical Work Group's second meeting report in 2020 which stated that there is a shortage, especially in rural and regional areas. If there's no evidence now, what has changed in those three years?
2. Has CASA actually taken on board the work of the advisory group and implemented recommendations from the working group to ensure that Australia has sufficient access to LAMEs to support the aviation industry?
3. Why is CASA not acknowledging the evidence from the working group and admitting that we do have a problem with LAME availability in Australia, and working with industry to find a solution before we see more safety incidents as a result?
4. Has CASA engaged with other departments to try and improve training pathways for LAMEs?
5. What is CASA doing to improve the number of LAMEs that are available to service Australia's fleet of planes?


1. Does the regulation authorise the carriage of emergency service agency personnel on the aircraft?
2. The people of New South Wales effectively own an ex-military Chinook helicopter along with the 737 Fireliner, Marie Bashir and several smaller aircraft to respond to emergencies within the state. During the 2022 floods impacting a wide area of Northern NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service requested the operator of their contracted Chinook at the time to support uplift and delivery of vital supplies to members of the public stranded by flood waters. This request was made to CASA under the relevant regulation available to authorise ex-military aircraft to carry emergency response cargo. In order to reduce increased stress during times of emergency response, would CASA consider pre-approval of the relevant authorisation rather than waiting until a crisis has developed?
3. In overseas jurisdictions, and here in Australia, ex-military aircraft are a very important element of the aerial firefighting capability required to protect the public during heightened risk fire seasons over the coming years. Significantly, in the USA specialist support and direct firefighting personnel are able to be carried on ex-military aircraft - why is this key capability not allowed in Australia, yet I can go out today and book an adventure flight in an ex-military jet that is up to 65 years old?





1. Operators of health services to remote Australia which help over 800 Australian families living with a disability, will be grounded by an upcoming 1 December 2023 deadline imposed under 7AA of?CASA EX82/21 - Part 119 of CASR - Supplementary Exemptions and Directions Instrument 2021 (Attachment A), a deadline which does not correlate to the rest of the Instrument.?You've previously stated to operators that the intention of the deadline was to enable CASA to engage with relevant stakeholders, has this engagement occurred?
2. Will CASA agree to extend this deadline to 1 December 2024, like the other items in the Instrument, to enable this stakeholder engagement process to be effected, noting this deadline is six weeks away and is causing unnecessary stress on both operators and those needing health services?
3. Has CASA looked at creating a separate class for Not for Profits and Charities that provided much needed transport for routine medical visits for rural and regional people, including a number of NDIS recipients, to avoid the risk of these critical services no longer being able to operate?
4. Regional communities are heavily reliant on services like Angel Flight and Fly2Health to be able to make routine medical appoints hundreds of kilometres away from their home as health services often aren't available in the more remote regions, if these not for profits are no longer able to operate as a result of these regulations, does CASA intend to explain to these communities why they are no longer able to access these vital flights?
UDB! -  Dodgy


1. Are there any concerns around CASA's test for 'hire or reward' is out of line with the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and other aviation jurisdictions in the world?
2. Was the introduction covered in the notices of proposed rulemaking and economic impact statement?











Department Aviation & Airports:


1. How many regional airports have approached the Department for assistance following the cessation of the Regional Airport Screening financial assistance?
2. Is the department aware of any other services, beyond Rex to and from Whyalla Airport, that have ceased as a result of the Government's decision to end this assistance?
3. Has the Department made a submission for MYEFO to request temporary financial support for regional airports to manage the costs of implementing security screening services until the White Paper is completed?


1. Why has the Department not established the Slots Compliance Committee in accordance with the requirements of the Sydney Airport Demand Management Act?

2. What authority does the Department have to not give effect to legislation of the Parliament?

3. When after 22 May 2022 did the Department first brief Minister King on its preference not to establish a Slots Compliance Committee?

4. What advice, if any, did the Minister provide the Department on this issue?

5. Is the Department proposing to draft legislation to amend the Sydney Airport Demand Management Act to improve the ability of the Slots Compliance Committee to undertake its compliance activities?

6. If not, what other action is the Department proposing should occur?

7. Does the Department accept that it cannot indefinitely allow legislation to not be enacted?






1. Chapter 7 of the ATSB report titled ''Aerodrome design standards and the Bulla Road Precinct development at Essendon Fields Airport'' notes that there was no regulatory assurance framework between CASA and Airservices to the Department of Infrastructure prior to 2019.

Will the Department be conducting an audit on all structures constructed prior to 2019, on federal aviation land, to ensure compliance with the current safety standards, as these structures were approved prior to the safety assurance framework being implemented?

2. If this has been undertaken, what evidence does the Department of Infrastructure have on the results?


Under the Airports Act, the Department of Infrastructure are meant to ensure all airport master plans and major development plans comply with the relevant state or territories planning scheme.
How did the Minister confirm the veracity of what is contained in the master plan or major development plan and that it complies with the relevant planning schemes?


1. Under the Airports Act, any construction totalling greater than $25M requires a major development plan. Note that Airports Act stipulates that any projects constructed concurrently and consecutively should be aggregated to the $25M.

Did the clearing of the aviation land, construction of these three buildings and the road cost more than $25M? If it is considered to be under $25M, how was this assessed?

2. Was an exemption sought from the major development plan process?

3. Was an exemption approved from the major development plan process?


Given the department's previous concerns from the 2015 Master Plan at Moorabbin, in looking at other similar training airports around the country, has the development of the non-aviation sector at Moorabbin overshadowed aviation development to the expense of General Aviation?


1. Is the Department of Infrastructure aware that despite government policy that no tenant was to be evicted during the COVID pandemic, Moorabbin Airport Corporation was evicting tenants during this time under these lease arrangements?
2. If the Minister will not meet with the Airport tenants, would the Department be willing to meet with them and to explain the reasons why the Masterplan was approved?


1. QON No. 339 (SQ23-004573) advised 73 claims had been referred to Comcare by AirServices Australia staff in the 2022-23 financial year to date. Has the Minister requested Departmental advice on the high level of ComCare claims within AirServices Australia?

2. What action is the Department taking, as the central agency supporting AirServices Australia, to address the high level of ComCare claims?


Mr Betts, why didn't you attend the Senate Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements?


Who in the Department signed off on the minute sent to the Minister to enter into a negotiating mandate?


Has the Department provided a brief to the Minister on the recommendations of the Report into the Senate Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements


In questions taken on notice (IQ23-000150) in the recent hearing for the aviation senate inquiry, the answers provided gave no helpful detail or clarity. Knowing that you would have looked into these matters since then, I'm asking the following questions:
a. When did Minister King's office advise the Prime Minister's office of her decision to block Qatar Airway's additional flights? I would like the official date.
b. Was there any advice from Minister King's office to the Prime Minister's office in the two weeks leading up to the decision?


1. When did the Minister for Transport first become aware of the application by Turkish Airlines to increase flights into Australia?
2. One what date did the Department inform the Minister?
3. What was the date last year that Turkish Airlines approached the Department for additional flights?
4. On what dates did the Department seek feedback from stakeholders on the Turkish Airlines request?
5. Did the Department at any time brief the Minister on the expression interest?
6. In a press conference on 15 August 2023, Minister King stated:
''I see from reports in the media that Turkish Airlines are intending to eventually apply''
Can you confirm what date Turkish Airlines submitted their formal application for additional flights into Australia? I understand it was the first week of August?
7. Why then in the third week of August is the Minister claiming that she had only known about it from media reports?
8. On the 15th of August, the Minister says on 4CA radio in Cairns:
''I understand, Turkish Airlines they haven't actually put a proposal to us as yet''
Was this statement correct on the 15th August?
9. On the 28th September the General Manager of Turkish Airlines said to the Senate Committee:
''We are still, till this day, expecting a reply from their side.''
Have the Department provided any response to Turkish Airlines about their application?
10. What is the current status of the Turkish Airlines application for additional flights?
11. On the 28th September, Turkish Airlines said in the Senate Committee hearing:
''Our first aim was actually to start in December, slowly sending direct flights into Australia for the first time. But now it doesn't seem possible to start in December, so we are expecting to finalise these talks with Civil Aviation as soon as possible so we can make a new plan for flights into Australia''
If the application was to be approved, what would the best case scenario be for additional flights to take off out of Australia?


1. Why has the Minister given so many contradictory explanations as to why she rejected the Qatar request for additional flights?
2. Can the Minister explain how her decision to reject the application for additional flights to and from Australia by Qatar Airways will benefit Australian consumers?


1. Can you confirm what airlines have a contract with the Commonwealth to provide commercial air services to the Indian Ocean Territories?
2. How many flights went to the IOTs this year?
a. How does that compare to other years?
b. If less, what are the reasons we saw less flights?
3. What is the cost to the commonwealth to service commercial flights to the IOTs?
4. When do you expect contracts to be renegotiated?

MTF...P2  Tongue

Each way Betts – accepted.

Couple of articles worth reading; the parallels worthy of serious consideration. For Sen. McKenzie and her first class crew there's enough ammunition – through the parallels - to generate some serious heat under the ministerial Chook – Shed. Be a grrrr8 Christmas present to watch the hapless Betts wriggle, shrug and squirm his way through some 'pointed' questions; just to explain the truly dreadful mess Australian aviation has descended into. Have at 'em Senator......

- HERE - “The report said a nationwide shortage of air traffic controllers and the off-loading of safety responsibilities from authorities to the industry Ross Aimer, CEO of California-based Aero Consulting Experts told The Canadian Press. “


-HERE -Aimer warned of governments’ delegating oversight duties to airlines and manufacturers rather than shouldering responsibility for checks and safeguards themselves.”

“It’s almost like the fox guarding the hen-house. You can’t be promoting aviation and yet policing it at the same time,” he said.

Toot – toot.,... Idea

Funny, that sounds like a re-run of the situation that lead to the MAX disasters.

Senator McKenzie calls out Albo on Joyce Meeting??Rolleyes

Via X:

Quote:Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie

[Image: GDBs_V3bkAA2naz?format=jpg&name=large]

Great to be in @2GB873 studio with the irrepressible
@marklevy2gb discussing why Australians are paying higher airfares this Christmas bc of Albo’s Qantas protection racket. It’s time to get Alan Joyce out of the witness protection program and in front of a senate inquiry

Senator The Hon. Bridget McKenzie

What has the PM got to hide? Why the secrecy about a simple meeting?

Quote:Sky News Australia

New revelations from a redacted copy of the Prime Minister's diary have raised concern over his comments.

Next EWB AQON?? -  Dodgy

From above: 153.

Quote: Wrote:Question
1. Chapter 7 of the ATSB report titled ''Aerodrome design standards and the Bulla Road Precinct development at Essendon Fields Airport'' notes that there was no regulatory assurance framework between CASA and Airservices to the Department of Infrastructure prior to 2019.
Will the Department be conducting an audit on all structures constructed prior to 2019, on federal aviation land, to ensure compliance with the current safety standards, as these structures were approved prior to the safety assurance framework being implemented?
2. If this has been undertaken, what evidence does the Department of Infrastructure have on the results?


Quote:The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) acknowledged in its final Transport Safety
Investigation Report AI-2018-010 (Page 105) that although, “in 2004, the Department of
Transport and Regional Services did not have an agreed assurance framework with the Civil
Aviation Safety Authority for assessing the safety information in draft major development
plans”, the issue “was raised for a point in time in 2004 and not reflective of contemporary
practices”. The Report noted that the issue (AI-2018-010-SI-04) was closed as “adequately
addressed” and that “the ATSB is satisfied that the arrangement established by the
Department will ensure that advice on the safety and operational aspects of an airport draft
major development plan will be provided by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and
Airservices Australia.”

The Report also notes that the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional
Development, Communications and the Arts and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
had advised that an agreed assurance framework was in place in regards to the provision of
advice by CASA to inform the Minister’s decision on draft Major Development Plans. This
long-running assurance process, in line with the requirements under the Airports Act 1996,
has been in place since privatisation of federally-leased airports and was confirmed in
correspondence between the department and CASA in 2019.

Talk about dodging the question - UFB! Angry

Come on Senators McKenzie and Fawcett don't let EWB get away with this... Wink

MTF...P2  Tongue

Perseverating :: Perspicacity :: Self preservation?

As mentioned, there was an 'uproar' at the last BRB indaba. I thought (FWIW) it may be worthwhile to 'boil down' my notes and try to frame, in a short 'blurb' the radical cause of such concern. When qualified, competent, even considered 'experts' start to boil over, time to simmer the pot. The short version is in the heading; and, the conflicts it all creates.

Perseveration is demonstrated by the inability to shift from one concept to another or to change or cease a behaviour pattern once having started it. Perseveration also refers to the inability to translate knowledge into action (initiation of a task). The person is “stuck in set”—unable to discard the previous set of behaviours—or is unable to “activate” for a new situation. The person stuck in set attempts to solve another problem with information relevant to a previous problem.

If there is a 'logical' start point, I think ICAO would be a good place to begin. The 'crew' had taken a long, hard look at the pertinent documents, from the perspective of our State Safety Program (SSP) performance. Their opinion was  rather than focus on our apparent regulatory differences (there's more non-compliance than compliance), the following observations regarding our Aircraft Accident Investigation (AAI) obligations of our SSP, undertaken by the ATSB were made and supported.

ICAO 2016 SMICG SSP/SMS recommendations (co-authored by CASA) state:

"1.3 — Accident and Incident investigation.

(a) Consider the contribution and function of the State accident investigation body to the SSP, especially to your safety risk and mitigation actions.

(b) There needs to be organisational independence between the State accident investigation body and State authorities; however, there does need to be an interrelationship within the SSP."

The Helibrook and SeaWorld helicopter accidents are current / prime examples of complex activities involving all aspects of the ’system'. The ICAO 2019 SMICG document titled; “Safety Case Evaluation” (co-authored an by CASA), is at the core of these accidents, yet not discussed or bench-marked in the ATSB ’s reports. The Safety Case Evaluation states:

"Regulatory requirements.

Regulatory Authorities may require a formal safety case to be submitted in certain instances such as change management or addressing specific safety issues. There may also be specific regulatory requirements on how a safety case or safety risk assessment is formally accepted on the basis of existing regulatory obligations. These should always be followed, and this guide supports that formal acceptance.

This guide should be used to record the Regulatory Authority’s evaluation of a safety case in order to demonstrate that the safety case was appropriately evaluated by the Regulatory Authority."

Both accidents involve changes from approved operations: (Helibrook HEC) and (SeaWorld RHS > LHS, A/C change) - a significant shift in operational configuration. The guidelines discuss ‘regulatory involvement’ in change management and highlight the consideration of:_

"what confidence the regulator has with the operator making the change?"

Considering Helibrook had a history of several prior incidents and a (known) unimplemented SMS (2019); what confidence level did CASA have to issue the HEC Approval (multiple times)? Additionally, the repeated Approval renewal appears to be influenced by the instrument expiration and upcoming crocodile egg collecting season (FOI documents). This is relevant contextual information that should be appropriately disclosed in a ’systemic’ investigation. Also, the 2019. Level 1 CASA Systems Audit, had identified that the Helibrook SMS was NOT implemented. As a ’Systemic’ investigation, lessons from the performance of the SMS, prior to he accident, would be valuable to the industry. A missed opportunity by the ATSB? (Silly question department - init).

ICAO guide outlines 6 Steps in a Safety Case Evaluation guide. Of particular note is Step 2. It lists specific instructions and evaluation guidance with system change. With these accidents in-mind, it’s worth reading the ICAO recommended process - it makes a lot of basic sense and therefore should form part of the ATSB ’s analysis.

In the SeaWorld (‘Defined’) accident with changes requiring the PIC to occupy the LHS; new visual patterns/perspectives were introduced. These represent a significant change and a Safety Case should have been triggered within their ‘accepted' SMS. Subsequently, that should have been evaluated by CASA.

Anyone who’s ever adapted to a left-hand drive car understands the issues - it’s not rocket science and the variety of risks are tangible. Considering this was a high frequency - rapid, short rotation - high traffic density - passenger operation, there would be a lot to learn. It has potential valuable SMS lessons and an insight into procedural design change challenges (comms/circuit design/SOPs etc).

This detail isn’t available in the ATSB Interim report - a year after the accident. To date, we have an ATSB PR Brief and Interim report that chose to disclose, amongst a myriad of contributory factors, that the PIC of one A/C had very low traces of a prohibited substance that, according to a forensic pharmacologist, would have been unlikely to have had any psycho motor skill impairment. This was scripted and disingenuous in the general view. But, needless to say, the media jumped aboard and embellished this non-contributory fact, as blame (bugger research). The ATSB would be best served to dump its PR strategy as the media don’t understand ’no-blame’, nor do the majority of the public, so it's a pointless exercise.

Similarly, the Helibrook (‘Systemic') investigation should have had a thorough assessment the Approval application (triggering a Safety Case) and CASA should have evaluated a new application - EVERY YEAR. Grudgingly, the crew gave credit to the ATSB for at least partially analysing the history of the Approval process, albeit only part of the process. A broader view of historical organisational surveillance would be informative in understanding the accident context.

Noticeably, a CASA Board meeting was held in DRW June 2021 and the upcoming HEC restrictions were to be discussed, followed by a demonstration flight with Helibrook. Did this influence CASA’s confidence in the operation and/or HEC Approval in September 2021? It’s not included in the ATSB report, for whatever reason - and I’m sure it’s not a good one. The CASA ‘Gift Register’ financial declaration satisfies disclosure and transparency, yet perception of conflict is often worse than an actual conflict itself. Regardless of the level of influence the Board meeting had, it’s relevant factual context that should have be disclosed in the analysis.

Step 5 in the ICAO Safety Case Evaluation process is: 'Risk Mitigation and Acceptance'. Again, its worth keeping these accidents in-mind whilst reading this guidance:

With the Helibrook accident, thorough analysis of this guidance may have identified why and how CASA ’‘drifted’ from the 2013 Risk Management Plan (RMP) position? All the ATSB have established is that it happened. Identifying process improvement appears to be received with derogatory connotations by SSP agencies rather being seen as opportunities to improve.

Whether the ATSB is suffering from ministerial capture, bureaucratic pressure or individual self-preservation, it needs to change and comply with the intent of ICAO Annex 13. When you take into consideration other aspects of the SSP, ie, ATC, Aerodromes, ATSB KPI’s, CASA oversight etc, we (AUS) are ‘flying dangerously’. 

A SSP, as with any safety system, requires compliance with SOP's and risk management to maintain a safe baseline performance. The various agencies of our SSP hold the industry accountable to these obligations, yet deviations/interpretations within the SSP seem to go unopposed, or worse, remain as latent conditions. The 'no-blame’ ATSB agency must be empowered to provide constructive criticism relating to SSP deviations -in a mature system, it is expected. These were both fatal accidents that must be learnt from.

All, simply closed off with ICAO’s statement. "It is important to recognise that an SSP is an activity and not just a document” (Shelf-ware). Our SSP has large agencies with very detailed bureaucratic processes, yet the 'outcome' doesn’t functionally address the intent of the SSP. There appears to be unbalanced ‘authority gradients’ within our SSP.

There was more, much more, but, in essence, the above paraphrases a collective opinion, (without the 'sound and fury'). But IMO, the 'big question has not as yet been answered. When are the grown ups going to turn up and 'audit' DoIT supervision of 'system' ? Use their Perspicacity to prevent further Perseverating and ensure the Self preservation of the Australian travelling public and the industry which carries it. Time: Gentlemen PLEASE..!

Toot -(weary) - toot......

Additional Estimates - CM request... Wink

Via the AP emails:

Quote:Subject: Upcoming Estimates Round - Legal And Constitutional Affairs - Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Dear Senators for NSW

I am a resident of Cootamundra.  This email respectfully requests you to consider raising, during the upcoming Estimates round, the question of chronic delays in the resolution of complaints submitted to Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)

The background to this request is in the email ‘trail’ below.  In essence, I complained to the OAIC about the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA’s) use of highly sensitive personal information submitted by applicants for medical certificates.  That information is used by CASA in studies, without the consent of applicants.  CASA says it has the function of doing or arranging these studies (despite that not being mentioned in CASA’s functions in section 9 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988) and says it may do so without individual’s consent because the information is ‘de-identified’.  An FOI request for access to documents setting out CASA’s procedures for de-identification, records of ‘penetration testing’ of the de-identified information systems and records of audits of compliance with the procedures returned zero documents.  I complained to the OAIC.

Over five months later, the OAIC has yet to allocate a case officer to my complaint.  As I said in my most recent email to the OAIC:

Quote:Although I understand it’s a matter out of your control and probably as frustrating for OAIC personnel as it is for me, I can’t help but observe how Orwellian the description “Early Resolution Team” is in circumstances where a case officer can’t even be allocated, much less resolve anything, 5 months after a complaint has been submitted. 

I would like to know the OAIC Commissioner’s position on the allocation of resources to and within the OAIC. 

In case you consider my complaint to be trivial, I note that a substantial air safety issue arises.  CASA’s ever-increasing intrusiveness into individual’s medical circumstances and the use to which CASA now puts that information – without being able to cite its authority to use the information in studies and without being able to provide even 1 page of procedures about the de-identification and protection process for this most sensitive of personal information – are among the many reasons for individuals now withholding information from CASA.  Some individuals are too scared even to raise potential medical issues with medical practitioners, for fear of that getting back to CASA. 

I’ve been a pilot for nearly four decades and I’ve watched – in despair – at this sadly-justified deterioration in trust.  I can provide you with studies the results of which show how substantial the probabilities are that one or both of the flight crew of the aircraft you next board have medical concerns that have not been discussed with a medical practitioner or not disclosed to CASA.


Clinton McKenzie

MTF...P2  Tongue  Tongue

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)