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Thursday, 13 September 1984
Page: 1290


Mr BEAZLEY (Minister for Aviation)(8.27) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Air Navigation Act so as to broaden the Government's power to cancel or suspend the international airline licences of foreign airlines operating to Australia. The proposed amendments have no financial impact. The Air Navigation Act currently limits the power to suspend or cancel a licence of a foreign operator to a situation where an airline has actually failed to comply with a provision of the Act or the regulations, or fails to conform to or comply with the terms or conditions of agreements or arrangements entered into with overseas countries.

Firstly, this Bill will provide wider power to suspend or cancel international airline licences on safety grounds, which as I have indicated is currently limited to an actual breach of the Act or regulations. The Act does not presently provide for a situation where information to hand indicates that there is likely to be a breach of the Act or regulations which is going to affect safety. In the interest of preserving air safety in Australia the Government should have the power to act before the breach occurs.

Another situation which can prejudice air safety is where an overseas aeronautical authority does not make adequate provision to ensure that its airline or aircraft substantially comply with the standards, practices and procedures set out in the Chicago Convention and its annexes. This situation could arise as a result of a failure to set appropriate standards or a failure to carry out adequate surveillance to ensure that an airline is complying with appropriate standards. As members will appreciate Australia is dependent to a large degree on the role of relevant overseas authorities to ensure that their aircraft operate safely into and out of Australia.

Secondly, the Bill provides for an amendment to the Air Navigation Act so as to enable the cancellation or suspension of a licence of a foreign carrier where this is considered necessary or desirable to preserve or promote fair competition in international air transport services. At the moment the Government does not have the capability to cancel or suspend a licence where an overseas government decides to withdraw the licence of or reduce the activity of an Australian carrier. If these circumstances eventuated it would be important to be able to respond to this situation. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Spender) adjourned.