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Anderson's priorities wrong on air safety.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Shadow Minister for Industry, Infrastructure and Industrial Relations Member for Perth

18 February 2005

ANDERSON’S PRIORITIES WRONG ON AIR SAFETY

Today’s report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on a serious airspace incident in July last year proves the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, John Anderson, has the wrong priorities when it comes to Australian air safety.

The ATSB report closely follows the revelation in Senate Estimates earlier this week that on the day the 2004 Election was called John Anderson signed a directive ordering Airservices Australia to install new radar facilities at 12 regional Australian airports - a decision he made without seeking expert advice from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority or Airservices Australia.

Airservices Australia told the Estimates committee that an almost identical level of safety could be achieved using different technology for about one-twentieth of the cost.

Leading up to the Federal Election Labor opposed Mr Anderson's plan because the needless cost of these radar systems would be passed onto regional travellers in the form of higher airfares.

Labor’s concern was confirmed at this week’s Senate Estimates when Airservices Australia was unable to tell the committee how the proposed radar systems will be funded but that the installation of these radar systems will cost between $100 million and $140 million.

Labor’s opinion of the Deputy Prime Minister’s radar plan remains unchanged, and today’s ATSB report reinforces our belief that the introduction of new Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB) technology is a viable and cheaper alternative to Mr Anderson’s radars.

The ATSB’s report can be found at http://www.atsb.gov.au/atsb/media/mrel093.cfm

Contact: Courtney Hoogen on (02) 6277 4108 or 0414 364 651