Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1095


Senator GIETZELT —On 5 December last year Senator Cooney asked me a question involving pilot licences, which I promised to refer to the Minister for Aviation. Mr Morris has now provided me with a fairly lengthy response which has certain legal implications, and I seek leave to incorporate it in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The response read as follows-

Regional Directors of the Department of Aviation and other senior officers of the Department of Aviation authorised by the Secretary of the Department may, and do in appropriate circumstances, vary, suspend or cancel licences or certificates issued under the Air Navigation Regulations (ANRs) including pilot licences granted under ANR 50.

ANR 258 confers upon the Secretary a power to vary, suspend or cancel a licence or certificate where he is satisfied that one or more of the following grounds exists:

(a) that the holder of the licence or certificate has contravened, or failed to comply with, a provision of the Act or the Regulations, including Regulations as in force by virtue of a law of a State;

(b) that the holder of the licence or certificate fails to satisfy, or to continue to satisfy, any requirement prescribed by, or specified under, the Regulations in relation to the obtaining or holding of such a licence or certificate;

(c) that the holder of the licence or certificate has failed in his duty with respect to any matter affecting the safe or efficient navigation or operation of an aircraft;

(d) that the holder of the licence or certificate is not a fit and proper person to have the responsibilities and exercise and perform the functions and duties of a holder of such a licence or certificate; or

(e) that the holder of the licence or certificate has contravened, or failed to comply with, a direction or instruction with respect to a matter affecting the safe navigation and operation of an aircraft, being a direction or instruction that is contained in Air Navigation Orders.

Pursuant to ANR 10 (2) the Secretary has delegated the full powers conferred upon him by ANR 258 to the two Deputy Secretaries and the First Assistant Secretary, Flight Standards Division. The five Regional Directors have the delegation under ANR 258 to vary or suspend licences but not to cancel them.

Prior to varying, suspending or cancelling a licence or certificate pursuant to ANR 258 the Secretary (or his delegate) is required to advise the holder of the licence or certificate of the facts and circumstances giving rise to the proposed action and to allow that person reasonable time to show cause why such action should not be taken. A decision made under ANR 258 is reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

In an addition to the powers conferred by ANR 258 there is power under ANR 257 for the Secretary to suspend a licence or certificate for a period of up to 28 days pending an investigation of facts or circumstances which might justify the variation, suspension or cancellation of a licence or certificate under ANR 258. In this case there is no show cause procedure and the decision is not reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Pursuant to ANR 10 (2) the Secretary of the Department of Aviation has delegated the powers conferred upon him by ANR 257 to Regional Directors and Assistant Regional Directors (Flight Standards) for all Regions and to the Superintendents Flying Operations of the New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria/Tasmania Regions.

Finally ANR 256 enables the Secretary to suspend a licence pending the licence holder undergoing an examination under ANRs 38 (Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer), 65 (Flight Crew), 97f (Air Traffic Controller) or 97r (Flight Service Officer), or pending the licence holder authorising the disclosure of information that may assist in determining whether the holder of the licence meets the relevant medical standards. In these circumstances also there is no show cause procedure and the decision is not reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The delegates of the Secretary under ANR 256 are the same as those detailed above in respect of ANR 257.

Between 1 November 1984 and 5 December 1986 61 pilot licences were suspended pending examination pursuant to the provisions of ANR 256. In the same period, 57 pilot licences were suspended pending investigation pursuant to the provisions of ANR 257. Following the required examination or investigation 11 pilot licences were suspended after the procedures required by ANR 258 had been adhered to. Of those suspensions 9 resulted from breaches of ANR's, one resulted from two failures to pass the required examination after an ANR 256 suspension and one resulted from fraudulent conduct in respect of licence documents. There were no cancellations of licences during this period. Two of the licence holders whose licences were suspended applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision to suspend. One applicant had the term of his suspension varied and the other applicant withdrew his application.

The breaches of ANRs that resulted in the 9 suspensions mentioned above were:

ANR 131-Low level aerobatics (1)

ANR 133-Low flying (3)

ANR 227-Overloading aircraft (2)

ANR 247-Flying whilst under the influence of alcohol (3)

In addition to the suspensions of licences detailed above there have been a number of instances where licences have either been suspended or cancelled on the basis of the licence holder's medical condition. As these cases are not considered to fall within the category of offences by the licence holder they have not been included in this summary.

Yours sincerely

PETER MORRIS

Senator the Hon. A. T. Gietzelt,

Minister for Veterans' Affairs,

Parliament House,

Canberra, A.C.T. 2600