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Wednesday, 22 May 1996
Page: 1075

Mr CAMPBELL —My question is to the Minister for Transport and Regional Development. Is it a fact that you asked for the resignation of the board members of CASA and did not receive it? How can you then, as minister, have confidence in and have to take responsibility for people you obviously have no confidence in? How do you rationalise the Howard centralist coalition policy of cutting down on government when you intend to increase the numbers on the board of CASA by 40 per cent?

Mr SHARP —I thank the honourable member for his question. The House would be aware—and it has been well reported in the paper; it is nothing new—that the members of the board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority wish to remain in their posts. The House would also be aware that of the four members of the board who are appointed by the government to that board, only one has any aviation experience. That person is Mr Geoff Molloy who was formerly a Qantas pilot and an RAAF pilot prior to being in Qantas. Three of the four do not have any prior aviation experience. It was a stated policy of the coalition, in opposition, that we would appoint persons to the board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority who had appropriate qualifications, skills and experience in the aviation industry.

In light of the fact that the current four members of the board wish to remain there, and in order to fulfil our election commitment—which is an important commitment to us in light of the importance of this organisation to the people of Australia—we are seeking to add an additional two members to the board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. This brings the total of members of the board to six. Those new people will have appropriate skills, experience and background in the aviation industry in order to ensure that the people of Australia who use our aviation system can have confidence that people with the appropriate skills are running this very important organisation.