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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 164

Mr Georganas asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, in writing, on 10 August 2005:

(1)   Can he explain why a fine was not imposed for the breach of the airport curfew at Adelaide Airport on 9 February 2005 by a Kalitta Air cargo jet.

(2)   Can he say whether the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) determined that there was a case to answer regarding the breach of the curfew.

(3)   Can he say whether the DPP determined that the costs of recovery would exceed the amount of the fine which could be imposed for the breach

(4)   Will he ask the DPP to review the decision and with a view to prosecuting so that airline operators take the curfew seriously.

(5)   What will he do to ensure that the offenders are fined when breaches of the curfew occur in the future.

Mr Truss (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   A fine can only be imposed pursuant to section 6 of the Adelaide Airport Curfew Act 2000 (the Act) following the successful prosecution of the operator of an aircraft for a breach of that section.

(2)   The DPP has thoroughly reviewed all of the information provided in relation to this incident and has determined in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth that there was an insufficient basis to proceed to prosecute the matter. Barriers seen by the DPP to successful prosecution include the adequacy of evidence and difficulties in effecting service on Kalitta Air, which has no corporate address in Australia.

(3)   The costs of recovery were not a factor in the DPP’s decision. I note that the maximum penalty for a breach of the curfew by a corporation under the Act is $110,000.

(4)   The DPP of its own volition has already undertaken a thorough review of the matter. The DPP has advised my Department that its decision is unchanged but that it is prepared to consider the matter further if the evidentiary problems can be overcome. The Department is continuing to work on this.

(5)   My Department has an established protocol for dealing with alleged breaches of the curfew. After investigation of the alleged breach, if the outcome of an investigation warrants, my Department will submit a brief of evidence to the DPP. It then becomes a matter for the DPP within the ambit of the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth whether or not to launch a prosecution. I have also asked the Department to look at what action can be taken to improve the basis for enforcement action and prevent such actions in the future.