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Tuesday, 19 November 2002
Page: 6727

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) (3:07 PM) —On 17 September Senator O'Brien asked me a supplementary question, in my role as representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, concerning a review into the Coroner's report dealing with the plane crash near Burketown of a charter flight which left Perth heading for Leonora in September 2000. I have an answer from the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and I seek leave to have that incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

The Minister for Transport and Regional Services has provided the following answer:

The review was initiated after the Coroner released his report on 12 September 2002. Senior management of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reviewed the report and provided comments to me. Separately, a review was conducted by a senior lawyer from the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS).

The AGS review fully supports the position and action taken by the ATSB and its officers.

A copy of the ATSB review and comments, together with the AGS review will be available to Senator O'Brien and Mr Ferguson if they wish to view this.

On the basis of the AGS comments and a review of the ATSB's comments, Mr Anderson is satisfied the ATSB has conducted its investigation appropriately and in accordance with Australia's international obligations.

The ATSB has acknowledged that there are some areas of its investigatory activity which can be further improved. Mr Anderson has asked the Executive Director of the Bureau to introduce these improvements as quickly as possible including:

· better information flow to the families of the deceased explaining the ATSB's role and contact details;

· regular publication of preliminary and interim factual reports prior to the final report;

· providing a deceased pilot's family with a copy of the draft report where appropriate;

· improving cooperation with all Coroners through the provisions proposed by Coroner's representatives that have been incorporated in the Transport Safety Investigation Bill and through a draft memorandum of understanding that will cover future pathology/toxic-ology and evidence sharing.