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Monday, 15 February 1999
Page: 1943

Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 24 November 1998:

(1) Is the Australian Maritime Safety Authority satisfied with the performance of the Aerial Rescue Delivery System (ARDS)/ Precision Aerial Delivery System (PADS).

(2) Is ARDS/PADS fully operational.

(3) On how many occasions has the equipment been deployed.

(4) Are there any restrictions on its use; if so: (a) what is the nature of each of these restrictions; and (b) have they been imposed as a result of testing of the equipment or problems detected in the deployment of the equipment.

(5) Can copies be provided of all reports into the use of this equipment that led to limitations being imposed on its use.

Senator Ian Macdonald (Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) —The Minister for Transport and Regional Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) AMSA considers that PADS Series G delivers emergency supplies more accurately and efficiently than the traditional delivery systems used in Australia.

(2) AMSA is currently deploying PADS Series G to eight locations around Australia and expects the deployment and training of personnel at these locations to be completed by 10 December 1998. The final distribution of this equipment will be considered when the current review of air-droppable supplies has been finalised.

(3) As at the 30 November 1998, PADS Series G has not been used in an operational search and rescue incident, but AMSA has deployed the equipment on approximately 160 occasions during training and aircraft certification sessions.

(4) As at 30 November 1998, AMSA has placed no restrictions on the use of PADS Series G equipment.

(5) N/A.