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Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Page: 23594


Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (12:55 PM) —I move opposition amendment (1):

(1) Clause 9, page 7 after paragraph (c) (after line 3), insert

(ea) Airservices Australia, or

This amendment goes to the question of air services. Airservices Australia is Australia's provider of air traffic control services. It plays a fundamental role in the safe passage of aircraft by separating traffic and diverting incidents. The organisation is also responsible for the installation and maintenance of the national airways system. The national airways system includes the equipment and technology that permits communications between aircraft, other pilots and air traffic controllers. It is exceptionally important to air safety in Australia. It also includes the radar and ground based equipment that is critical to the navigation and safety of aircraft in Australia.

This equipment and the national airways system are critical to safe aviation. By their nature, they are also a potential target for terrorists and, unfortunately, criminal activity. For that reason, the organisation and its operations should be formally under a security regulation umbrella. The responsibilities and obligations of Airservices Australia with respect to measures to ensure the security of our national airways system must be clear, approved and properly understood.

Let me be clear: this is not news to the management of Airservices Australia, an organisation that we all have considerable respect for. It is not adding a new responsibility. The board and management fully appreciate the critically important nature of their equipment and prepare security plans for their TAAATS centres, equipment and other facilities. However, this amendment is designed to ensure there is no room for relying on goodwill, good management and good intentions.

It is the view of the opposition that Airservices Australia must be defined as an aviation industry participant and regulated to ensure that it has an approved security program to protect our critical aviation facilities, passengers, work force and industry. I urge the government to support this amendment, which follows detailed discussions in an endeavour to get absolute agreement on the Aviation Transport Security Bill 2003. I believe the amendment is in the interests of transparent regulation of the security of our national airways.