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(generated from captions) and it turns around and taxes us for it. I imagine that's not the last Now, as the holiday season draws nearer,

more people will be travelling by plane. According to Dick Smith, the former head of the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority, if they are not worried about their safety while they're flying, they should be. In fact, Dick Smith says,

air travel in Australia is now unsafe. Here is Chris Simond's report. It's just horrific. NEWS REEL: Hopes of any survivors soon disappeared. Outrageous! A helicopter paramedic winches down to the burning wreckage,

but found no one alive. They will end up putting a jet airline in and killing hundreds of people. According to one of our most According to one of our most respected businessmen and aviators,

the skies over Australia are a dangerous place to be. A record number of people have already died, and with savage cost cuts to safety procedures, he believes many more are now at risk. In 13 months we've killed 24 people, all with professional flight crews making errors and there's not the slightest hint we should fix anything. Every one of them

has been a controlled flight into terrain in bad weather - an airline pilot running the plane into a mountain ridge accidentally. EXPLOSION I have to read British aviation magazines to find out that it's the worst professional pilot accident record in history. Well, we're going to get airborne in about about 12 or 13 seconds. Successful entrepreneur, explorer and aviator Dick Smith knows he is flying into one of the biggest political storms of his life. It's all uncontrolled airspace. This is the government trying to save money. To save money, they've ended up endangering passengers' lives. 24 people have been killed who could be alive today if these reforms were done. It was raining, with cloud barely 400 metres above the ground when the Aero Tropics flight the side of a mountain.

smashed into the side of a mountain. Everyone was waiting with baited breath until finally we found out that there were no survivors. Three people are feared dead after their light plane disappeared near the Victorian snowfields. Dick Smith claims in each of these incidents radar and air traffic controllers should have been employed to guide pilots to their destinations.

Instead, flying blind, they crashed in bad weather.

And he is convinced it is the government's fault. They've insisted that the air-traffic-control company maximise its profits. by reducing its risk So it maximises its profits by reducing its risk and not providing controllers at local airports. So are you suggesting that this is negligence? It is negligence.

Look, there's going to be blood on the government's hands when we put an airline in. We're just cruising here at 125 knots. As a former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, CASA,

with 33 years flying experience, he believes this is what we can expect if nothing is done. Specifically, Dick blames Air Services Australia - the government body responsible for air traffic controllers and the safe regulation of our airspace. They get 25% of their pay from the profit of the organisation.

So if they can close down a control tower, they get more take-home pay. Closing down a control tower, like at Proserpine in Far North Queensland, which receives six jet flight movements a week. For that control tower to have been hidden behind the trees in an old quarry is just outrageous. At one time, Proserpine's control tower must have been considered a vital aid to air traffic.

Obviously, no longer. It has now been dismantled, dragged into the bush and abandoned along with passengers who now fly in and out unprotected. During bad weather, it is especially hazardous. Here, there is not even a radio operator... ..who can confirm that you're on the correct airport frequency.

So it is an accident waiting to happen. More cost savings at Queensland's Hamilton Island Airport.

The control tower here is only manned for some of its flight movements. Each afternoon it closes down at 3.30 and the one controller goes home. But at 4.15, a Jetstar flight arrives from Sydney. Passengers are blissfully unaware their landing was unassisted by anyone on the ground. How concerned should we be next time we board a commercial flight?

We should be very concerned when the weather is bad because the radar is not being used properly. I wouldn't fly to Proserpine in bad weather - I simply wouldn't go there. So how much would this cost to put it all right? Look, it would probably cost about 20 cents an airline ticket. Virtually nothing. We've been very badly let down by the government. As to the cause of the three accidents that claimed 24 lives,

Warren Truss, the Federal Transport Minister responsible for aviation, says - Since he's not had much success bending the ears of government ministers, Dick Smith has now decided to organise a number of public seminars across the country.

He wants to reveal how unsafe the skies are above Australia. He wants to talk to the people who will be the most effective.

He wants to hear from us, the travelling public,

before he makes further submissions to government. An old bureaucrat said to me, "Dick, you'll have to have the accident and kill 150 people "before they'll fix it." I'm going to try and go to the Australian public and say, "Let's fix it before the accident." Hear, hear.

If you would like to find out more about Dick Smith's concerns,

just head to our web site or just give us a call.