Does Australian aviation cares who forms a government? The short answer is no. In fact the closer the two parties are to a ‘hung’ parliament, the better the chances of actually getting the appalling state of aviation administration and the costs the current situation is demanding under some form of rational, responsible, accountable control. Even if it is only fiscal.
For far too long, successive government have been content to rely on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and it’s associated agencies. It is a convenient arrangement where the Minister of the day can know, with some certainty and confidence, that there are multiple layers of ministerial safety built into the system to protect them from all and any responsibility. This is fine for government. However, abrogating all ministerial responsibility and control has allowed the agencies, particularly the CASA to run unchecked. This to the point where even the Supreme court in WA was persuaded by the ‘mystique’ and the fear of blood on their hands, that CASA was ‘above the law’ when it came to matters relating to ‘air safety’. This, standing alone, is ludicrous. Anyone who believes that anything CASA do or could do make flying on Qantas any safer than it is needs help. Industry expertise has built, with blood, sweat and hard learned lessons the reputation for safety Australia enjoys; CASA is simply a parasite feeding very well off the talent, skill, experience and wisdom of industry.
Previous Ministers have sat on their hands and turned a blind eye to the outrageous cost of regulatory reform. It has been estimated, but not audited, that within the past three decades over 300,000,000 tax payer dollars have been invested in the still to be complete ‘new’ regulatory suite. A suite which is internationally embarrassing and has provoked those directly involved or associated with industry into open rebellion. There is tangible, measurable fury against the impractical, overly prescriptive, strict liability, criminal law based, operationally incomprehensible, impossible to comply with, expensive, counterproductive, no value rule set; which has not improved ‘safety’ one solitary iota. In fact many would support the argument that many of the rules can promote ‘un-safe’ practices, in the form of ‘double standards’ i.e. that which is seen to be ‘compliant’ as opposed to that which actually takes place. The latest inutile rule sets have produced nothing except expense and aggravation; with particular reference to rules relating to the nonadministrative aspects of aircraft maintenance, pilot fatigue and ‘licencing’.
Consecutive ‘big party’ governments have not only allowed the situation to develop, they have happily funded the abomination. For aviation, particularly the smaller end of town, the very best thing would be a parliament where Nick Xenophon held the whip hand. He and some of his Senate colleagues are the only politicians who have taken the time and trouble to ask the right questions. They almost understand, they certainly have been educated and had their eyes opened. Pel-Air rocked ‘em, hit ‘em hard; the lights came on. Regrettably, despite their best efforts there are still 30 odd recommendations they made relating to the Norfolk Island ditching of a Pel-Air medical transfer flight which have just be ignored. There are yet another 30 odd recommendations relating to the reform of the ‘regulator’ provided by an independent report, commissioned by government, not only outstanding, but being treated as merely ‘an opinion’.
No. For aviation only Xenophon and the Senate crew really matter; the rest, just another well stuffed, irresponsible government determined, at any cost (to the taxpayer) to avoid all contact with matters aeronautical.
Thank you M’dear, I enjoyed those. Yes please; set ‘em up again, we have friends joining us.