Thursday, 17 October 2019

Queensland LNP Senator Susan McDonald has crossed the Senate floor on Senator Rex Patrick’s Disallowance Motion.

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick moved a motion to disallow the Civil Aviation (Community Services Flights – Conditions on Flight Crew Licences) Instrument 2019 (the Instrument).

The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, chaired by Senator McDonald, recently held an inquiry into the performance of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and in particular its report on the June 2017 crash of a flight conducted on behalf of Angel Flight Australia. It was the findings of the report that formed part of the rationale for the introduction by CASA of the Instrument.

The first recommendation of the committee removed the provision for additional aeroplane maintenance requirements, which are beyond those required in the General Aviation sector. The second recommendation addressed clarification around what constitutes the ‘operating crew’ for a community service flight, particularly as this relates to additional pilots and mentoring arrangements.

Senator McDonald said she believed that regulation of any industry should be outcomes-based, effective and reasonable, and said the committee’s recommendations struck a balance between safety, ease of implementation and benefits to a service that does so much good for so many people, thanks to the generosity of volunteer pilots.

“People and communities expect a lot from their elected representatives. Mostly they expect us to represent their issues and challenges,” she said.

“When CASA was not able to demonstrate a basis for increased regulation and costs through greater maintenance, it was necessary for me to not support additional aviation regulation that did not lead to greater safety, just higher costs.”