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QON – Aviation in senate Estimates – Help to ASRR??

The following are QON from November 2013 for answer by 10th January 2014.

Some still to come??

CASA 01
HEFFERNAN
Relationship between CASA and the Rural Fire Service
Mr McCormick: I can give you a notice, if you like, about the relationship between us and the Rural Fire Service.
CHAIR: I think it is not between the pilot and the Rural Fire Service; it has to be between you and the Rural Fire Service. There needs to be some steadying influence in the cowboy attitude at times. I am not alleging anything, broadly, but it is an uncomfortable feeling that a lot of very learned, experienced pilots have. This guy was disgusted that a remark would be made: ‘Are you a man or aren’t you? Get up there!’ I can give you the details.
Mr McCormick: We will look into that.
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132
CASA 02
FAWCETT
Safety – Colour Vision Deficiency
Senator FAWCETT: I will come back to that at another time. Thank you for that clarification today. On another issue of safety, does CASA have any record of incidents or accidents in Australia arising from pilots who have a colour vision deficiency?
Mr McCormick: I will have to take that on notice.
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133
CASA 03
FAWCETT
AAT Challenge
Senator FAWCETT: I recognise that, and if you look at Australian aviation history, with things like DME and T-VASI we have led the world on a number of occasions and the rest of the world now thanks us for that. My concern is that there is considerable talk and concern within the industry that CASA is not only seeking to prevent this person from exercising the privileges of an ATPL but is in fact seeking to wind back the decision to pre-1989—pre the Denison case—to realign itself with the FAA and other people. I am just trying to understand whether there is in fact that intent, but, also, if the evidence base is very clear both in the Denison case and in the thousands of hours of flying since, that pilots can operate safely, then what is the safety case for not actually allowing someone to exercise the privileges of an ATPL?
Mr McCormick: As to the exact nature of the AAT proceedings, I would prefer not to talk about it. We will take on notice your question about whether we are attempting to withdraw anything. The issue around medical standards is that quite a lot of these medical standards are not set by CASA. In fact we do not set any medical standards. We use whatever the expertise in that particular area says is the requirement, unless we have good reasons to do otherwise. The fact that we have had many years without accidents or incidents—and I will assume for moment we have not, but I will take that on notice—I think we are in a situation where, to go even further, we would need more than a safety case. We would most probably need medical science to tell us that that is probably not too far. As I said, we are already out in front of the world on this. So, we are not actively trying to stop anybody doing anything, but we do have to exercise some degree of caution.
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18/11/2013
134
CASA 04
XENOPHON
Public Scrutiny of FRMS Approvals
Senator XENOPHON: That is why I am hoping to see that document sooner rather than later. Can I just move to the new fatigue rules. Will each FRMS approval be available for public scrutiny to ensure that CASA is not creating a commercial advantage for some operators over others, because that is one of the concerns. This is an issue that has been ventilated with you, both in this forum and in other forums, Mr McCormick.
Mr McCormick: Publishing of the FRMSs on a public site?
Senator XENOPHON: Yes.
Mr McCormick: Again, I do not think we have formed an opinion. We will take that on notice.
Senator XENOPHON: It is a pretty important issue, and I might be guided by Senator Fawcett given his expertise in this. For an FRMS approval, again, what harm would there be for that approval to be available for public scrutiny?
Mr McCormick: Again, there are safety issues. We have not turned our mind to this. I will take it on notice. Is it your view that they should be published?
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Senator XENOPHON: No, I am asking you: do you consider that each FRMS approval be available for public scrutiny? Surely there is nothing there that would be commercially in confidence.
135
CASA 05
FAWCETT
CASA IT System
Senator FAWCETT: In question 3 of those notices, you were asked whether the advice of the chief information officer sought prior to the decision being taken. The answer was yes. Perhaps the question was not well framed; what was the advice of the chief information officer? Did he indicated that he thought that Pentana may in fact have a case to claim for breach of IP?
Mr McCormick: I will just ask the deputy director, who was more involved, to answer that.
Mr Farquharson: The CIO raised questions about IT security, in terms of the language in which the platform was originally written in. The first amount of money went to rewriting the code into a SQL database. The advice that we received from trying to do our due diligence was that in any case the code was not even remotely like Pentana’s code itself and was written in quite a different code and manner.

Senator FAWCETT: Could you clarify that for us and come back with a trail?
Mr McCormick: We certainly will give you a time trail in our responses. I have got them here now for those questions. We have tried to outline them as clearly as we could regarding how it has gone forward.
Senator FAWCETT: I am asking on that particular point, if you have received advice that his concerns were not valid, could you present the committee with a document to demonstrate that?
Mr McCormick: Yes, we can take that on notice.
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136
CASA 06
XENOPHON
Investigation into Airservices Australia – Heads of Power Issue
Senator XENOPHON: Yes, the 172 report was quite critical. It was quite significant that you renewed ASA’s license on a conditional basis. That is right, isn’t it?
Mr McCormick: Yes.
Senator XENOPHON: During this investigation, were you sharing information with the ATSB about your investigation into Airservices Australia?
Mr McCormick: The review that we were doing with Airservices was looking at the fact that we also have difficulty in regulating the government entity, as Airservices, in that there is not too much we could do.
Senator XENOPHON: Because of a head of power?
Mr McCormick: That is a legal issue as well, which I could ask to give you some more information on if you would like.
Senator XENOPHON: Maybe, because of time constraints, if we could get that on notice from you about issues of heads of power with respect to your ability to regulate or to give directives to Airservices Australia.
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137
CASA 07
XENOPHON
Investigation into Airservices Australia – Internal Process
Senator XENOPHON: Yes, but there is that little issue of a MOU that came up during the Pel-Air inquiry—about the importance of the memorandum of understanding. I do not want to have to refer to the specific clauses, but that was quite clear in terms of its requirements for information relating to the air-safety issues to be shared between the two organisations. In the course of your investigation—your overview, your review—of Airservices Australia, were you keeping the ATSB updated in respect of that?
Mr McCormick: In terms of the internal process I will have to take that on notice. I was not involved closely enough to be able to tell you that.
Senator XENOPHON: Again, that raises the vexed issue as to whether the memorandum of understanding was being complied with.
Mr McCormick: The memorandum of understanding, although it deals with an exchange of information, has, up until recent times, been viewed to be about incidents and accidents or other matters that we have information about. A lot of the 172 report does not refer to any particular incident.
Senator XENOPHON: The MOU is broader than that, though. It is not about specific incidents.
Mr McCormick: It is, but I think it generally has a germination point—something to start it or kick it off. The 172 process—I am taking on notice what we did with the report—was about what we thought of Airservices Australia outside of the specific information we received on audits.
Senator XENOPHON: Sure. I will not take it any further than this but please take those issues on notice. If, in the course of your investigation or your review of Airservices Australia, you uncovered issues of concern to CASA—and the report did disclose issues of concern; I thought it was quite damning of Airservices Australia—then surely, insofar as the report related to aviation safety, which I think is axiomatic, given the damning nature of that report, isn’t that something that the ATSB should have been kept apprised of on a very regular basis?
Mr McCormick: What was given to ATSB I will have to take on notice. I understand the thrust of your comments; I do not disagree.
Senator XENOPHON: The MOU may not have been complied with. I am not sure whether it was or not; I just want to know whether the spirit and the letter of the MOU has been complied with in relation to this investigation.
Mr McCormick: If parts of that report were started as a result of electronic incidents—from memory, I think a few of them are referenced in there—that information came from the ATSB to start with. So all we were doing was looking at how those issues hung together or created a bigger picture. Individual issues should be known. As I said, we will take it on notice and I will find out what was said.
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138
CASA 08
FAWCETT
Twin Otter Audit
Senator FAWCETT: Do CASA hold any records of what the content of those verbal outbriefs are?
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Mr Campbell: I think you are talking about an exit meeting. I believe that we still have an exit meeting under our current processes and our current surveillance manual, and I believe there would be records of that meeting.
Senator FAWCETT: Are you able to provide those to the committee? Again, I am only getting one side of the story at the moment, and my understanding is that the exit meeting did not indicate any serious problems that would indicate a show cause notice forthcoming.
Mr Campbell: I would not expect our inspectors to be talking about show cause at an exit meeting, quite frankly. I think that is a decision that we make as part of our coordinated enforcement process, and it requires input from more people than just the inspectors to start talking about things like a show cause notice. I would expect them to say, ‘We found this and this and this,’ and we will be in touch with them.
Senator FAWCETT: I believe Horn Island was the area where the most concern was. I think there was an audit done—I think Twin Otter was the aircraft that was of concern. Can you tell me how many defects were found on that aircraft when you did the audit?
Mr Campbell: I do not recall the Twin Otter. I will have to take that one on notice.
Senator FAWCETT: My understanding is that it was less than a handful of things like landing lights. Again, there is no AAT process we can look at to understand the balance of this argument. Are you able to provide me—even if it is in confidence—with a record of what the deficiencies were that caused the concern in CASA, because I am certainly not seeing the same story from the other side that would lend weight to a grounding situation, which is essentially what has occurred?
Mr McCormick: Yes, we will take that on notice and provide you with all the documentation we can. I am cognizant that the committee had a discussion earlier today with Mr Mrdak about FOI versus committee requests, and we acknowledge that anything we give to you will be in confidence. We will do our utmost to give you anything we have available on that, and we will certainly find the reports you refer to and the recommendation paperwork that came to me which led to the serious and imminent risk decision. Is it satisfactory that we go up to that decision point?
Senator FAWCETT: Yes, that would be good.
Mr McCormick: We will do that. We will take that on notice.
139
CASA 09
XENOPHON
Report on Aviation Accident Investigations
Senator XENOPHON: Mr McCormick, today marks four years to the day since the ditching of the VH-NGA off Norfolk Island and nearly seven months since the references committee issued its report on aviation accident investigations. Has CASA formulated a response to the recommendations in the report?
Mr McCormick: The part that we had to do has been completed. The
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documents are no longer with CASA.
Senator XENOPHON: But there were various recommendations and you have given your views as to those recommendations to the department?
Mr McCormick: Yes, we have.
Senator XENOPHON: When did you do that?
Mr McCormick: I would have to take the exact date on notice. It was before the election.
140
CASA 10
FAWCETT
Safety – Colour Vision Deficiency
1. What resources has CASA provided in the AAT investigation of colour vision deficiency in the current AAT investigation? Please provide details in terms of:
Current AAT case (to date)
CASA dollar inputs
Number of CASA personnel involved
Total CASA man hours
Third party man hours
Third party costs
2. What is CASA’s total allocated budget for the current AAT hearing- forecast or approved as per table above?
3. How do all the above figures compare in broad terms to the AAT Denison case of 1989?
Written
141
ATSB 01
FAWCETT
Safety – Colour Vision Deficiency
Senator FAWCETT: I assume you have been watching on the monitor the proceedings with CASA. Are there any accidents or incidents or concerns in Australia that have been brought to ATSB’s attention as a result of a pilot having a colour vision deficiency?
Mr Dolan: I am not aware of any investigations we have undertaken where a contributing factor to an accident was colour vision deficiency. My colleagues might have a different view.
Mr Walsh: No, we would have to take it on notice to do a search of the database to see if we have any cases on record.
Mr Dolan: We will search the database to confirm, but we are reasonably certain that we do not have one of those.
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142
ATSB 02
XENOPHON
Pel-Air
It is now over four years since the ditching of VH-NGA off Norfolk Island, and nearly seven months since the committee issued its report on aviation accident investigations. Has the ATSB formulated a response to this report?
a. If so, please provide a copy of the response provided to the Minister or department.
b. Will the ATSB be implementing any of the report’s recommendations? If so, when?
c. In particular, will the ATSB be withdrawing its report into the Pel-Air incident and conducting a further investigation?
d. Does the Chief Commissioner still maintain the ditching was the fault of the pilot, and that there were no systemic issues involved?
Written
143
ATSB 03
XENOPHON
Pel-Air
The ATSB recently completed a review of loss of separation incidents in Australia, and concluded that issues with military ATS were primarily to blame.
a. How does this compare with the CASA review of Airservices Australia, which found serious regulatory breaches and resulted in CASA revoking ASA’s ongoing approval? Isn’t this in contrast to the ATSB’s findings?
b. Given the findings of the Pel-Air report, what confidence can the Australian public have that the ATSB was thorough and rigorous in its investigation, and did not seek to mitigate any impact the investigation may have on CASA or Airservices Australia?
c. Does the ATSB acknowledge that the significant failings of the Pel-Air report, and the lack of response to those failings, puts the ATSB’s reputation at risk?
Written
144
ATSB 04
XENOPHON
Pel-Air
I note that the Canadian TSB has been commissioned to undertake an independent review of the ATSB’s reporting processes.
a. Who commissioned the review?
b. Why was the TSB chosen, and who made that choice?
c. What is the process for the review?
Written
145
AAA 01
FAWCETT
Bankstown Airport
Senator FAWCETT: Gentlemen, I have some questions on the airport side. I would like to come back to my favourite areas: Bankstown Airport. There is the question of the north-south runway, which is one of the few north-south runways in the Sydney Basin suitable for light aircraft to land when the wind is southerly or northerly. Basically, the feedback to date has been that it is not an issue, but I understand that they had to cease operations on 30 October. Operations were closed due to southerly winds causing excessive and unacceptable crosswinds. I want to come back again to whether the department is planning to take any action around the fact that the terms of the lease to the people who took over the lease for Bankstown Airport were to maintain the aviation facilities as they were at the time of the lease in terms of capability. They have now closed down the only available north-south runway for GA aircraft in that basin. What is the department going to do about it?
CHAIR: Good question.
Mr Mrdak: I am not aware of the circumstances of the loss of that runway during that weather condition. I do not think any of our officers are across that issue. If I may take that on notice—
Senator FAWCETT: The loss of the runway occurred years ago when the leaseholder wound it up—
Mr Mrdak: No, I understand that issue. I just do not know the circumstances of what occurred in October this year in terms of the crosswind and how often. As you know, the basis of the advice some years to enable that runway to be discontinued in use was based on advice of the relatively frequent occurrences when that runway is required. I would need to go back and check that. But, in relation to this matter, the department at this stage is not proposing any further action in relation to that cross runway. In the light of this advice, we will review that position.
146
AAA 02
CHAIR
Bankstown Airport
CHAIR: With great respect—I have been watching this for years too—where do they go? To Camden or somewhere if they are running out of fuel?
Mr Mrdak: They have to—
CHAIR: You used to be able to go to Kingsford Smith, mind you, but I do not think they would have you there.
Mr Mrdak: No, I suspect the prevailing weather conditions would have impacted a number of airports in the region at that time. I think the issue here, as you know and as we have discussed at length in this committee, is that the advice that was provided at the time of that Bankstown master plan matter was the basis on which the runway was discontinued. I would need to go back and check the circumstances and seek whether further advice was required.
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147
AAA 03
CHAIR
Bankstown Airport
CHAIR: Maybe you could provide us with the advice that whoever had the power to tick that off—the decision maker—got on the further impact on the flood plain and what the legal remedy would be if someone got flooded who would not have got flooded if—
Mr Doherty: Unless Ms Horrocks can add any details, I think we should take on notice to find what we can off the file about what happened when that was approved.
CHAIR: Yes. It is a real issue.
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18/11/2013
Mr Doherty: I understand.
Mr Wilson: In addition, we will take the issue associated with the legal exposure associated with those decisions and any events that would occur subsequently.
CHAIR: This does happen. Some cotton farmers put up levee banks to protect their cotton farm and, whoosh, someone else gets flooded. I just think there is nothing wrong with it, but there is.
Mr Wilson: As I said, we will take that on notice.
148
AAA 04
CHAIR
Panel to review aviation safety regulations in Australia
CHAIR: Can I invite you to invite the panel to appear before this committee and give us the answer? We would like it to appear because, if we are going to do this properly without fear or favour, I think we would offer the opportunity of privilege.
Mr Mrdak: I will seek some advice, Chair, in relation to how the panel may interact with the committee.
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149
AAA 05
XENOPHON
Foreign ownership of domestic airlines
Senator XENOPHON: Mr Mrdak, I asked questions of the previous government in relation to the restructuring of Virgin Australia and their splitting into domestic and international divisions. In regard to the restructuring of Virgin Australia—which took place about two years ago now?
Mr Mrdak: About two years ago.
Senator XENOPHON: to take advantage of the unlimited foreign ownership of domestic airlines. With which government agencies did the government or the department consult to ensure that both the spirit and the letter of the Air Navigation Act was complied with? You might want to take that on notice.
Mr Mrdak: I will take that on notice. This department has responsibility for the Air Navigation Act and compliance with that act.
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150
AAA 06
XENOPHON
Ownership of Virgin Australia
Senator XENOPHON: And, in relation to the Air Navigation Act, do you as a department look at any links and any influence, control or commercial relationships between those majority owners of Virgin Australia, the domestic airline, and the Virgin international wing?
Mr Mrdak: The company has obligations in relation to the way in which it operates to meet the requirements of the Air Navigation Act. We are satisfied on the advice that we have in relation to how the company operates that there is a clear distinction between the ownership and control of Virgin international and the Virgin domestic operation.
Senator XENOPHON: Are you able to provide us with details of that advice?
Mr Mrdak: I can certainly take it on notice. I think that the majority of the documentation for the company is available, as a listed entity. We can certainly take on notice the information that is available to be provided to you.
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151
AAA 07
McLUCAS
Hobart International Airport Funding
Mr Mrdak: The government has committed $38 million, as you say. I think we are awaiting details on what the full cost will be. Hobart International Airport is currently working on a design and scope of works for the project.
Senator McLUCAS: So where did the $38 million figure come from?
Mr Mrdak: I think it was identified by the airport as an indicative cost. They are now looking to finalise that cost in some more detail. But the government’s commitment is $38 million.
Senator McLUCAS: Do you know how much Macquarie Bank, as the owner of the airport, is committing to the project?
Mr Mrdak: I do not have that detail with me at this stage, I am sorry. I will take that on notice.
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152
AAA 08
XENOPHON
Senate Inquiry on Pel Air
Senator XENOPHON: Perhaps I should ask the minister or the secretary this. What difficulty would there be in CASA providing material to the department about the Senate inquiry on Pel Air.
Mr McCormick: Again, Senator, I will have to take that on notice. I am not sure what the protocols are around that.
Senator XENOPHON: Perhaps I will ask the secretary. Given the communication that was sent from CASA to the department what difficulty would there be for the department and CASA to provide us with a copy of CASA’s response?
Mr Mrdak: The minister is currently finalising his consideration of a response to the Senate inquiry. I will take that on notice. I do not think there is an issue in principle but I would need to take that on notice and come back to you.
Senator XENOPHON: For instance,—I am not saying this would be the case—if the majority of this committee was minded to ask for that response at some stage, whether it waits for the minister’s response to the Senate inquiry with recommendations, you do not see any particular difficulty with that as a matter of principle?
Mr Mrdak: Without pre-empting the minister’s consideration of the matter, we have put an extensive amount of material and a draft response to successive ministers. Without prejudicing that process I will take that on notice.
Senator XENOPHON: Let us not talk at cross purposes here. I am saying that CASA gave a considered response presumably to the Senate inquiry, to the minister, to consider. That itself would not be a draft, it would be a document from CASA to the department. What harm would there be for that document eventually seeing the light of day?
Mr Mrdak: Again, without recalling the exact details of the document, I do not have an issue in principle, but I need to take it on notice.
Senator XENOPHON: At the end of the day you would not have an issue in principle with that being released, would you, Mr McCormick?
Mr McCormick: Again, I will take it on notice. I personally do not, but I am not sure what the protocols are. Perhaps Dr Aleck might have something to say.
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153
AAA 09
XENOPHON
CASAs Response to the Senate Report into the Aviation Accident Investigations
Senator XENOPHON: If we can go back to that, Mr McCormick, to the department and to the minister, I formally request that you table a copy of CASA’s response to the department in respect of the Senate report of the inquiry into aviation accident investigations handed in May 2013.
Mr McCormick: I acknowledge your request, Senator, and we will take it on notice and check the legal advice. If it concurs with what we have heard today then we certainly will provide it.
Senator XENOPHON: What has legal advice got to do with it?
Mr McCormick: We are merely checking to make sure that that is the case.
Senator XENOPHON: Are you suggesting that a request from a committee of the Senate for a document is something that could be fettered by legal advice?
Mr McCormick: No, Senator, I will not go there. What I am saying is that I will take it on notice and I acknowledge your request.
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154
AAA 10
FAWCETT
ATSBs Response to the Senate Report into the Aviation Accident Investigations
Mr Dolan: Our starting point will be CASA’s response to that particular investigation report on the ABC helicopter you are talking about. We certainly want to understand better the new CASA part 133 and what that means not just for passenger operations but more broadly. Depending on what happens with that, the commission reserves the right to make recommendations after receiving responses from various organisations, but we do not have any power to direct any organisation. We only have the power to recommend.
Senator FAWCETT: Chair, can I clarify: in the previous discussion Senator Xenophon was asking CASA for a copy of the advice that was provided to the previous minister?
CHAIR: For which there is no impediment.
Senator FAWCETT: So I relay the same request to ATSB: that we see a copy of the response to the Senate report into the air accident investigation that was provided to the minister.
Mr Mrdak: I will take that on notice.
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155
AAA 11
MACDONALD
Air Accidents Investigation Inquiry
Question on Notice 01 from Budget Estimates in May 2013 asked the Minister and the Department to provide an indication of when the Minister could be expected to adopt the report, and when the Government could be expected to respond to it.
In answer to Question on Notice 01 from Budget Estimates in May 2013 the Department indicated that the Government would be providing a response “as soon as possible”.
1. What action, if any, has been taken by the Department following the report of the Air Accidents Investigation Inquiry?
2. What action, if any, was taken by the previous Government following
Written
the report of the Air Accidents Investigation Inquiry?
156
AAA 12
EDWARDS
Aviation Policy Settings
1. Are current circumstances in the Australian domestic aviation market representing a level playing field?
2. Do you consider it level where there are different rules for different airlines, in particular foreign ownership rights?
3. Is Australia alone in permitting 100 per cent foreign ownership of domestic airlines when no comparable jurisdiction in the world permits the same level of foreign ownership?
Written
157
AAA 13
EDWARDS
Aviation Policy Settings
1. How much money did the aviation market in Australia loose last year?
2. Is it appropriate to be adding more than 5 per cent new capacity to the result? If so, why?
Written
158
AAA 14
EDWARDS
Aviation Policy Settings
1. What would be the positive and negative effects of Virgin being fully privatised buy 2 or 3 of its investors?
2. Do you consider the division on the domestic and international arms of Virgin to be genuine?
3. Do you see Virgin continuing to have access to Australia’s air treaty rights with its current business structure?
Written
159
AAA 15
URQUHART
Hobart Airport
1. Where did the proposal to re-develop the Hobart Airport originate?
2. What percentage of the funding will be provided by the Airports owners?
3. Given that the Howard Government privatised Australian airports partly in order to prevent Government having to provide infrastructure improvements, isn’t this an admission that that policy failed?
4. Who owns the Hobart airport?
5. What was the Hobart airport’s net profit last financial year?
6. Why is the Government giving money to corporations already making huge profits?
7. Is it true that this proposal has previously been submitted to Infrastructure Australia by the Tasmanian State Government?
Why was that submission rejected?
8. Why has the Government decided to ignore the advice of Infrastructure Australia?
9. Has there been any community consultation regarding this project?
10. Will there be any additional infrastructure required in terms of access roads to and from the Tasman Highway? Who will be responsible for these? Has there been any consultation with Tasmanian Government?
Written
160
AA 01
XENOPHON
CASA’s investigation into Airservices Australia
Senator XENOPHON: Can I just ask you to pause there. I guess an easier way of dealing with these issues is to ask you whether Airservices Australia has formally responded to CASA’s report on their organisation and whether—
Ms Staib: Yes, Senator.
Senator XENOPHON: There has been a formal response?
Ms Staib: Yes.
Senator XENOPHON: Is that publicly available?
Ms Staib: It is not publicly available.
Senator XENOPHON: Can I ask you to table that response?
Ms Staib: Can I take that on notice?
Senator XENOPHON: Is there anything in there that would be commercial-in-confidence at all?
Ms Staib: My recollection is no, so I can table that response.
Senator XENOPHON: Yes. Thank you.
Ms Staib: We have progressively—
CHAIR: I think you are entitled to take it on notice.
Senator XENOPHON: CASA wrote a report critical of Airservices Australia. I made it very clear to Ms Staib that it was not under her watch, at the time the report was prepared.
An honourable senator interjecting—
Senator XENOPHON: Well, it’s true. It is true. The situation is that, presumably, Airservices Australia has given a formal response to CASA’s report.
Ms Staib: Yes, that is correct.
Senator XENOPHON: So I am just asking for a copy.
CHAIR: Senator, we do not have an objection if the chief executive wants to do it. But, if she wants to think about it, she is entitled to think about it.
Ms Staib: Senator Xenophon, there have been several responses, in fact. There was the first response, and I have been providing the director with progress reports on our action plans. So we submitted our action plan to him, with the courses of action that we were taking, and also progress reports in regard to milestones completed. So there has been continuing feedback to CASA about our response to that report.
Senator XENOPHON: Okay. I would be grateful for copies of those.
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161
AA 02
CHAIR
Maintenance of AWIS
Mr Hood: Senator, we are also obviously doing our own follow-up on the fog incidents in Adelaide and in Mildura. My understanding is that the airport is responsible for the maintenance of the AWIS, but we are following that up and if clarification is required of which agency is responsible—
Senator XENOPHON: So it is not necessarily the Bureau of Meteorology, it is not Airservices Australia; it is the actual airport?
Mr Hood: That is my understanding. But I am happy to take that on notice and provide a full response in relation to that.
CHAIR: Just pausing there, why would that plane—is this the one that held over the airport and then did an illegal landing?
Senator XENOPHON: Well, it wasn’t illegal; it was all about running out of fuel.
CHAIR: Yes, but you wouldn’t—
Senator XENOPHON: He was under the minimum.
CHAIR: But why, in god’s name? It could have gone to bloody Woomera or anywhere else. Why did it hang around there if the weather was shit?
Mr Hood: Senator, we are also obviously—
Senator XENOPHON: Did Hansard get the expletive on your part, Chair?
CHAIR: But it’s true. That could have been a fatal—just with a simple decision—
Senator STERLE: With the greatest of respect, Mr Hood was about ready to answer and you just both jumped in on him.
CHAIR: No, no.
Senator STERLE: I reckon he could mix it with the pair of you!
CHAIR: There is no simple answer. It was not very sensible to hold it—
Senator STERLE: Chair, he didn’t get the opportunity! He was just about ready to answer and then Senator Xenophon picked up on your choice of language and then you were all into it.
CHAIR: But you will—
Senator STERLE: You are doing it again. He hasn’t got the answer.
CHAIR: I haven’t finished the question.
Senator STERLE: You did. You just spoke then.
CHAIR: You will concede that the guy could have diverted to Woomera or somewhere instead of risking a landing that could have been a catastrophe.
Mr Hood: There are over four million aircraft movements in Australia a year, very few of which cause us significant concern. I think it is fair to say this is a concerning incident. We are cooperating fully with the ATSB. It is our hope that the ATSB will establish all of the facts and make appropriate recommendations, on which we will act.
Senator XENOPHON: These AWISs, the automatic weather information services: who on earth owns them, controls them, is responsible for them? I am not any wiser now than I was this morning when I asked the Bureau of Meteorology. I am just trying to work it out.
Ms Staib: We will take that on notice. As we said, we believe it is the airport’s responsibility, but we will confirm that…
Mr Wolfe: I will be brief. The automatic weather information service, the AWIS, is as Mr Hood has indicated the responsibility of the airport operator. Inside the AWIS is an AWS, an automatic weather station, which is the Bureau of Meteorology’s responsibility. The transmitter on top is the airport’s; the weather station is BoM’s.
162
AA 03
STERLE
Corporate Hospitality and Executive Expenditure
1. Can you provide the Committee, on notice, with a list of all corporate hospitality received by the Senior Executive and Board members in the last 12 months?
2. Can you also provide, on notice, a list of all sponsorships and corporate hospitality offered by Senior Management, the cost of each and the business case for each expenditure?
3. Can you provide the Committee, on notice, with details of other Executive expenditure, particularly entertainment, for the past 12 months – for example the hiring of the nightclub in Brisbane for a function, the dinner for 60 people at the Ottoman hosted by Airservices? In the case of functions like these, can you also provide the Committee with the attendance list for each function?
Written
163
AA 04
STERLE
Staffing
1. Can you outline for the Committee Airservices’ policy on diversity in the workplace, and in particular any strategies you have in place for the recruitment and retention of women in senior management at Airservices.
2. On notice, can you provide the Committee with the number of women employed at a senior level at Airservices now and 12 months ago, excluding the position of CEO?
Written
164
AA 05
STERLE
New Systems Project
1. Airservices will be investing heavily in a new air traffic control system. Whilst I understand tenders have closed and I wouldn’t want you to comment on the evaluation process I am interested in what benefits you hope to get from this new system. Can you also detail and actual quantitative and non-quantitative benefits this new system will bring.
2. The new system is a joint project with the Department of Defence and the RAAF. Presumably there is quite a significant economy of scale to be gained from this arrangement. What will the scale of benefit be and does that mean that your customers, and ultimately the taxpayer, will benefit from this arrangement?
3. As I understand it, you are leading this joint procurement. Does this also mean that you will be financing defence’s portion of the project?
Written
165
AA 06
STERLE
Airservices Board
1. Can you outline for me the Board’s program for stakeholder engagement? Note – the Board’s program not management’s. Does the Board have a program; if not does it intend to develop one?
2. Does the Board meet outside of Canberra? When was the last time a full Board meeting was held out of Canberra – and where was it held?
Written

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