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Senate Committee mauls #asa, with Dick Smith giving aviation a future

Senate Committee mauls #asa, with Dick Smith giving aviation a future

The senators kept at #asa last night when trying to work out whether or not, #asa is competent to run a Government enterprise.

Jason Harefield, a 25-year veteran of #asa and acting CEO, after the demise of Margartet Staib was answering questions in such a way that the senators were being misled. That some of the questions could not be answered, according to Harefield, is unlikely.

The question now is, why was ex-CEO Margaret Staib not present to deal with the matters occurring under her watch. Certainly good to take up an exit package and depart.

Harefield refused to shed light on this package saying his appointment occurred after Staib departed, hence he “..had no knowledge…”.

Xenophon questions and Margaret Staib last May:

The ex-CFO was also absent and the “new” CFO, Paul Logan gave similar answers to Harefield, dodging on-coming senate buses.

The article by Ean Higgins sums up some of the particularly nasty issues that surround One-Sky.

NOTE: Previous documents on airspace by #casa

Attached below.

The following were to be present from #asa at the hearing, but only the first three fronted the Senatorial inquisitors:

  • Mr Jason Harfield, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • Mr Paul Logan, Acting Chief Financial Officer
  • Mr Greg Hood, Executive General Manager, Air Traffic Control
  • Ms Mairi Barton, Executive General Manager, Corporate and Industry Affairs
  • Mrs Michelle Bennetts, Executive General Manager, Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting
  • Mr Andrew Boyd, Executive General Manager, People and Culture
  • Mr Mark Rodwell, Executive General Manager, Projects and Engineering
  • Dr Rob Weaver, Executive General Manager, Safety Environment and Assurance

During evidence from Harefield, Harefield stated that there were only 2000 ‘customers’ of #asa.

In fact, there are over 10,000 VH registered aircraft, so perhaps this is the first real indicator of the actual demise of GA.

Dick Smith said “…That it is rare to find aircraft at airports you visit”. He said “Parkes in western NSW was the only place I saw other aircraft on a trip from Sydney to Port Headland in a recent trip and they were two training aircraft from Mangalore”.


The one hour presentation by Dick Smith, gave a very salutary look at the “discrepancies” in the RIS [Regulatory Impact Statement” by #casa and the way #asa implemented the ADSB project.

It has left a very big cost base for the industry, which takes many organisations to the financial edge.

That ADSB is touted for Australia [#asa] to be “the first”, gives a huge cost difficulty to those people least likely to achieve any real benefits from ADSB implementation.

Dick pressed home this issue in a very well structured manner.

Dick, in his submission says:

…. avionics equipage mandates for satellite-based IFR navigation, Mode S/ADS-B transponders and forward fitment of TCAS II version 7.1” (“ADS-B”), i.e. the “early” fitment of ADS-B, was based on figures supplied by Airservices Australia and is a heavily flawed document.

Whilst the impression is given in the RIS is that both the airlines and general aviation will benefit, third-party research shows, for example, that the resultant fuel savings for general aviation from the fitment of ADS-B are not likely be the $4.1 million claimed and will more likely be $200,000 per annum. This is because general aviation aircraft primarily fly in uncontrolled airspace and, therefore, can fly directly at the present time. These new figures show that the net position for small aircraft is a negative cost of $62.2 million. This will clearly further damage the viability of the general aviation sector.

With the small aircraft sector there will be a very large number of aircraft which operate in remote areas which will receive no benefit at all – but this sector will still have to incur the cost of fitting the equipment…………

Dick concludes:

“..It is quite clear that the RIS needs to be reviewed and the Committee should recommend this. Otherwise, significant and potentially permanent economic damage will be inflicted upon the general aviation industry.

It should be pointed out that this damage will include reduced safety levels as money is redirected from important safety issues – such as more recency flying and replacement of aging aircraft – to expensive ADS-B fitment where there is no measurable safety increase in uncontrolled airspace….”

On airspace, Dick says:

“………It is therefore imperative that, as well as a review being commenced into the ADS-B Regulation Impact Statement, Airservices Australia should move ahead with the NAS policy of increasing controlled airspace for instrument flight rule aircraft when in cloud…”

On #asa as a “secret organisation”:

“………Airservices Australia is primarily a Government owned organisation which exists to provide safe air traffic control and rescue and firefighting services. There should be “no secrets” when it comes to aviation safety – surely that is fundamental..”

Call on Minister Truss:

“………….I now note that on 8 July 2015 – six weeks after my letter of 29 May – you issued the Australian Airspace Policy Statement in its finalised form with a commencement date of 13 July 2015. You adhered to the wording from the Australian Airspace Policy Statement – Draft and completely abandoned the Government’s policy under Mark Vaile to go to the National Airspace System (“NAS”).

If you remember, in my letter of 29 July 2015 I said that this would, “completely stop in its tracks any move towards the proven, very safe North American NAS system.”

Minister, I simply do not understand why you are doing this.

Presumably it is because those within the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia are resisting change in every way they can.

Minister, to resist change is a fairly human thing to do. However, from time to time leadership needs to be applied tomove forward and our safety regulatory system is no exception when it comes to making such progress…..”


Senators query air project alliances

Senators query air project alliances

Senate committee chairman Bill Heffernan. Source: News Corp Australia

Senators last night alleged an ­“incestuous” relationship among consultants, contractors and Airservices Australia executives ­involved in the ambitious $1.5 billion program to integrate the ­nation’s civilian and military air traffic control systems.

At a Senate committee hearing, senators claimed a web of personal and corporate interconnections cast doubts over One­SKY, the flagship project of government-owned Airservices, which runs the nation’s air traffic control system and airport fire and rescue services.

These included a “husband and wife team” on opposite sides of a transaction ­between Air­services and the consultancy group it engaged in a multi-­million-dollar contract to advise it on OneSKY, the International Centre for Complex Project Management.

Senators also pointed to the fact Chris Jenkins, the managing director of the project’s successful prime contractor, the inter­national airspace group Thales, is also chairman of ICCPM.

The Senate’s rural and region­al affairs and transport legislation committee heard Air­services had outsourced the role of lead negotiator in its dealings with Thales to an ICCPM consultant, former RAAF officer Harry Bradford.

“The perception of conflict of interest is all over this,” said Labor senator Joe Bullock.

The committee chairman, Liberal Bill Heffernan, joined Senator Bullock in describing the arrangements as “incestuous” and said they would “not pass the public test … it sounds dodgy”.

Airservices acting chief executive Jason Harfield denied any conflicts of interest.

“It’s a small community,” he said of the airspace management business, but insisted it was not a case of “just being a web of mates”.

The OneSKY program, to be implemented between 2018 and 2021, envisages 200 radar consoles operated by civilian and air force controllers displaying the same information in real time.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, whose transport portfolio covers aviation, has strongly supported OneSKY, with a spokesman saying he was “satisfied that the ongoing negotiation and acquisition of One­SKY are being managed appro­priately.”

Senator Heffernan, deputy chairman Glenn Sterle and other committee members expressed serious concerns.

Senator Sterle repeatedly asked Mr Harfield whether the board had known of the personal and professional relationships when it signed off on Thales as the principal contractor for OneSKY.

“I can’t speak for the board,” Mr Harfield eventually said.

Senators raised the prospect of calling board members, including chairman Angus Houston.

The committee heard that ICCPM managing director Deborah Hein is the wife of Steve Hein, who worked for ICCPM until hired by Airservices in a senior managerial role. One contract Airservices struck with ICCPM was processed by Mr Hein.

“He was acting in my role … while I was away in the US,” Mr Harfield said, adding Mr Hein’s involvement was limited to getting sign-off from a more senior manager.

He said to ensure probity, the Heins had been excluded from the tender evaluation ­process.

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