Senate debates

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Regulations and Determinations

Civil Aviation (Community Service Flights — Conditions on Flight Crew Licences) Instrument 2019; Disallowance

3:49 pm

Photo of Louise PrattLouise Pratt (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing) Share this | Hansard source

The opposition today does not support Senator Patrick's disallowance motion. We note that the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport has inquired into matters associated with community service flights. We note that the committee made a couple of recommendations, which, as we understand it, the government are currently considering. So we in the opposition are looking forward to seeing the government respond to those in due course.

We understand that community flight charities such as Angel Flight do indeed provide a valuable service to regional communities across Australia, and we pay credit to the organisation and the volunteers that give their time to help regional families who need to attend medical appointments in major centres. We also very much respect the role of CASA as the independent civil aviation safety regulator. There's no doubt in our nation that our community has the expectation that CASA will establish and enforce a regulatory system that keeps all passengers, whether fare-paying or not, safe when they take to our skies. Indeed, Senator Patrick highlighted to us his own experience as a qualified pilot and said in his own words that he wouldn't suggest people take a flight with him as a pilot.

The opposition take a bipartisan approach to aviation safety because we know that the community puts a very high premium on safety in our skies. We understand very much, however, the concerns raised by Angel Flight. It is also essential that we have the highest safety standards applied to these important flights. We will continue to monitor implementation of this instrument and any impacts on community service flights and the community service flight community. We will be working with the government to address any of these concerns going forward.


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