Thursday, 20 March 2014
Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee; Government Response to Report
I want to follow Senator Xenophon with a couple of brief comments. I welcome his contribution to this and the role he has played, along with Senator Sterle and Senator Heffernan, in the committee inquiry that led to this report. I welcome the fact that the response to this report from the government has finally come. It is a report that deals with a range of serious safety issues. As a member of the committee, and not of the executive government, I have yet to read the response. I intend to do so and look seriously at how these recommendations, which go to serious safety issues for the aviation community, have been responded to.
Recommendation 7 goes to the issue of competence in terms of the governance of organisations. We saw legislation tabled this week in the lower house and we are here in the Senate today looking at a bill for increasing governance on the board of CASA. The minister commented that he is looking to have people with both operational and technical experience on the board. That was a strong theme that came through this inquiry—the need to have appropriate, competent guidance for both CASA and the ATSB so that we have leadership that recognises what is important and gives appropriate direction to the practitioners.
Recommendation 13 is that a short inquiry be conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport. The government has essentially pre-empted that recommendation with the review being led by Mr David Forsyth into the regulatory reform process. That has been widely embraced by the aviation community. I look forward to the tabling of that in the implementation.
While the response by the former government, and even this one, is far later than should have been the case for something that is so important, I welcome the fact that the response has been tabled and I look forward to reading it in detail. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.