VOCA

An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.

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Policy for Australian Aviation

There has been a dearth of policy about aviation and actions by Albanese, DOT, CASA and ATSB.

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These are two interesting papers that should be read in the current climate, with information being slow to move and the department responsible for CASA and ATSB not answering the Senate inquiry into PelAir [at 25th October 2013]

A paper by James Scott Mahoney as:

Clipped Wings: Management discourses during organisational change at Australia’s Civil Aviation Authority

A research thesis submitted for the Master ofArts in Communication (Research) degree of the University of CanberraAugust 2007.

ABSTRACT:

Structural change in organisations is stressful for staff and the managers who must implement it. Most change programs use employee communication techniques to support change directions set by senior executive decision makers -dominant coalitions.

This research used a single case study to explain the context and management discourses of a major re-structure of an Australian Federal Government agency, the former Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), during the early 1990s. A content analysis examined the use of keywords in management discourses that argued the need for change. The keywords represented the two major change discourses: micro-economic reform and aviation safety regulation.

A critical discourse analysis investigated the dominant coalition’s discourse strategies to justify change. Content and process communication theories, and the role offraming in organisational change, were used to explain how employees may have reacted to change directions.

The research found that change directions were framed as an economic imperative that clashed with a traditional organisational culture that emphasised the primacy of aviation safety. It found that mixed messages by the two principal members ofthe dominant coalition who drove change exacerbated the clash.

The results suggest a need for further analysis ofmanagement discourses used to inform employees about structural change, especially in organisations that have legislative responsibilities. Further analysis of change messages framed by dominant coalitions could lead to a deeper understanding ofhow they affect employees and the change process.

Clipped Wings Management change civil aviation authority 2007

AND:

WHO GUARDS THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY?

ABSTRACT
This article seeks to define ‘public interest’ in safety in Australian civil aviation. It focuses on governance. Reforms from 1982 were underpinned by fiscal cost-consciousness and argument over whether the public, fare-paying passengers or industry were the clients. They lacked a sound theory: the neo-liberal theory of bureaucratic failure and the new managerialist policy of fiscal efficiency have been inadequate to explain how to arrange the residual regulatory affairs. Executive boards were established as statutory bodies to exercise sovereign coercive power but this fractured accountability. Governance now is organisationally more complex and system coherence has suffered. Managerial competence was a major contributing factor.
Critics claim that the number of near misses indicates that the system is an `accident waiting to happen’; supporters claim that the low numbers of accidents shows that the regime is working satisfactorily despite cutting $A100 million per year of ‘padding’ from previous budgets.

EDWARDS_Geoffrey-rev_Mar09

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Coalition flags safety review

 

THE federal Coalition plans to bring in a prominent member of the international aviation community to conduct an external review of aviation safety and regulations similar to the Wheeler inquiry into aviation security.

It will announce the move today as part of its aviation policy that foreshadows a potential restructure of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and a strengthening of the CASA board by increasing the number of members from four to six.

Coalition flags safety review

Warren Truss

Opposition transport spokesman Warren Truss addresses the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday. Picture: Ray Strange Source: TheAustralian

THE federal Coalition plans to bring in a prominent member of the international aviation community to conduct an external review of aviation safety and regulations similar to the Wheeler inquiry into aviation security.

It will announce the move today as part of its aviation policy that foreshadows a potential restructure of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and a strengthening of the CASA board by increasing the number of members from four to six.

It is also promising a formal aviation industry consultative council that would meet regularly with the transport minister to address matters of concern to the wider industry, and an industry complaints commissioner to investigate grievances about the regulator or its operatives “in a reasonable time”.

The external safety and regulation review comes after recent adverse findings by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee and after industry feedback that safety regulations were being inappropriately applied and were too bureaucratic.

“We’ve had such feedback from the industry about the regulatory process and the operations of CASA, it simply has to be addressed,” opposition transport spokesman Warren Truss told The Australian.

“We’ve also got the inevitable and ongoing differences of opinion in the sector about how everything should be done and I thought the Wheeler Review was actually a very useful exercise in dealing with aviation security.

“Not all the recommendations were perfect, but it acted as a circuit breaker and his report has effectively underpinned all that we’ve done on aviation security since.”

Mr Truss said he thought it highly unlikely there would be a consensus on the best way to proceed with the regulatory system.

“I’m hopeful that we will be able to get a decisive breakthrough as we did with Wheeler,” he said, noting the opposition did not have a particular candidate in mind but that it would be someone whose views and work would be respected.

He said a Coalition government would not proceed with changes until the review was completed. He said he would like to have it completed so that key decisions could be made by March, when current CASA boss John McCormick’s current term expired.

“There are some things I can do immediately without asking for an outside expert. It’s just self-evident,” Mr Truss said. “For instance, it’s silly to have a board that the CEO is not answerable to, and things like that. But it’s better to do it all in one go when a new person is appointed or there is a renewal of a term.”

Mr Truss conceded that aviation had been an area “where angels dared to tread”, but there was concern about the system wherever he went, particularly among licensed aircraft maintenance engineers.

“The big airlines, they can cope with this, because they’ve got the people and the systems, but the poor one-man operator or just two or three people at a country airfield, this paper war is something they can’t very easily cope with,” Mr Truss said.

The policy calls for a firm strategic direction for CASA with renewed focus on meaningful industry consultation, an emphasis on consistency in interpreting the rules and a more timely and streamlined review process.

The industry complaints commissioner would be responsible for investigating complaints about CASA personnel and delegates or authorised personnel.

The commissioner would be required to provide a quarterly report to the board and director of aviation safety that included a summary of activities, the number or complaints received and time taken to respond.

“The other issue we get constantly is criticism of differences in the way the same laws are interpreted in different offices by different people,” Mr Truss said.

Other key parts of the policy include better utilisation of the airspace.

The Coalition will task Airservices Australia with fast-tracking technological improvements at airports that are supported by both airports and airlines and could improve reliability.

The enroute subsidy scheme would be revived but would be restructured to provide maximum help to marginal routes.

The carbon tax goes as part of the wider Coalition policy, aviation manufacturing would be encouraged and there would be a move to revitalise general aviation.

On the vexed question of a second Sydney airport, the Coalition would make a decision on a second site in its first term of government.

 

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This about to change:

Labor’s air safety, airport failures come home to roost

The failure of the deputy PM Anthony Albanese, to take his responsbilities to act on the Pel-Air scandal seriously will bite him badly today when the coalition announces what will be an extremely serious review of air safety administration in Australia.

This is how the announcement is previewed in The Australian.

THE federal Coalition plans to bring in a prominent member of the international aviation community to conduct an external review of aviation safety and regulations similar to the Wheeler inquiry into aviation security.

It will announce the move today as part of its aviation policy that foreshadows a potential restructure of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and a strengthening of the CASA board by increasing the number of members from four to six.

Expect a restructuring of the ATSB and CASA to follow. The gross misconduct by both authorities in relation to the Pel-Air incident will be put into the spotlight by the review, as will the Minister for Infrastructure and Transports attempts to mislead the popular media over his inability to do anything about it because of the government being in caretaker mode.

However while there may be justified scepticism in the aviation industry at all levels over the attention span of the Coalition in relation to such matters the issue of a second Sydney Airport also threatens to boil over with disastrous electoral consequences for Labor in western Sydney.

This Newspoll points to the current high likelihood of Labor losing at least five western Sydney seats which are in desperate need of a jobs and economic circuit breaker from the construction of a second airport at Badgerys Creek.

While neither side of politics has been game to play a build-the-airport and get-the-jobs card up until now, the burden of incumbency is being carried by Labor which has constantly shied away from doing the obvious and getting the project rolling.

This report may or may not exaggerate the risk to Labor in the west of Sydney, where some political observers have calculated a loss of five seats, while the Murdoch media says it could be ten seats.  But there is no doubt that assistant Treasurer David Bradbury and Treasurer Chris Bowen, face the gravest of risk from having no coherent, locally focused and convincing answer to the immediate needs of western Sydney for the level of economic recovery that would accompany the building and operation of the airport.

Like the Pel-Air jet that lies in on the sea floor near Norfolk Island, Labor has run out of fuel and will crash.

The writer doesn’t care who wins the election. He does care about the wilful abuses and failures of air safety administration in Australia and the bi-partisan lack of action over need for a 2nd Sydney airport.