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Senate QON’s – Questions on Notice

The following were released in the past few days [6th February 2014], just before parliament resumes in February. It will be interesting to see how the Senators deal with the answers.

Rural & Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
Supplementary Budget Estimates November 2013
Infrastructure and Regional Development

QON – ATSB

No change in place for the ATSB in regards to PelAir re-doing report.

Question no.: 142
Program: ATSB
Division/Agency: (ATSB) Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Topic: Pel-Air
Proof Hansard Page/s: Written
Senator Xenophon asked:
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?
Answer:
Yes.
a. The ATSB provided advice to the Department on 31 July 2013, to assist it in briefing the Minister on a proposed government response. The various agency contributions, including the ATSB’s, to assist in the preparation of the Government’s response to the Senate Inquiry, are internal working documents provided to the Department as part of a deliberative Government process.
Each Government aviation agency cleared parts, pertaining to their organisation, of the proposed Government response to the Senate Inquiry before the response was provided to the Government. Accordingly agency views on the Senate Inquiry’s report will be reflected in the final Government response, which will be provided to the Committee as soon as it is approved by the Government.
b. The ATSB will implement those elements of the government response which are relevant to it and are consistent with the provisions of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003. The timeframe for implementation will depend on the publication of the government’s response as well as the outcomes of the review of aviation safety regulation announced by the Deputy Prime Minister on 14 November 2013. The review team is expected to report to the government in May 2014.
c. The ATSB has no power to withdraw the Pel-Air report or plans to conduct a further investigation.
d. The ATSB stands by the findings of its report. Neither the Chief Commissioner nor the ATSB have apportioned blame for the ditching. The report identified systemic issues against which action has been taken by the relevant organisations.

QON – CASA

The following statement was made by Mr. Mrdak at Senate estimates on 18th November 2013 in response to a question by Senator Fawcett:

RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT LEGISLATION COMMITTEE

Page 10 Senate Monday, 18 November 2013

Senator FAWCETT: The last time we met in estimates, you were anticipating giving a brief to former minister Albanese about the Senate report into air accident investigations. You anticipated giving that to him, I think, within 10 days of the date of the estimates. Could you confirm what date the department did provide that brief for action to the minister?
Mr Mrdak: Following our conversation at the 29 May estimates, I provided advice to the minister on 5 June 2013.
Senator FAWCETT: Did that have recommendations for a response to the Senate report?
Mr Mrdak: It provided advice on the Senate report, including options for handling of the Senate inquiry report, yes.
Senator FAWCETT: Did it flag the fact that there were safety implications raised in the Senate report?
Mr Mrdak: It certainly drew to the minister’s attention the findings of the Senate committee report.

There appear to be some serious discrepancies between the Mrdak answer and that of CASA [below]:

Question no.: 139
Program: n/a
Division/Agency: (AAA) Aviation and Airports
Topic: Report on Aviation Accident Investigations
Proof Hansard Page/s: 58 (18/11/2013)
Senator Xenophon asked:
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 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.
Answer:
In response to a request from the Department, CASA provided initial comments on the recommendations to the Department on 7 June 2013. Formal comments on the proposed response were provided to the Department on 19 August 2013.
After the election, CASA received a draft Government response on 25 September 2013 from the Department inviting any final comments and CASA advised it had no further comments on 26 September 2013.

QON – OTS CASA Review of CASR

Part 172 Approval AirServices Australia Response 14th December 2012 QON 160_Att

QON – AAA

QON – AMSA

QON – AsA