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CASA chaos looms

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The recently announced Civil Aviation Safety Authority staff media policy threatens to cause chaos within the organisation, Shadow Minister for Transport Lindsay Tanner said today.

"The new policy is an open invitation to CASA staff to undermine the decisions of their superiors. It invites them to make public statements if they think the decisions or actions of their superiors, even the Director or Board, are in their view ‘inadequate.’

"CASA staff are invited to question their instructions, and effectively defy them if they think they are wrong. Individual CASA officials will now feel obliged to second guess any instruction they receive, as they may now carry responsibility for those decisions even though they have been made by superiors.

“This policy virtually invites CASA officers to ignore the decisions of senior staff and go to the media. It is a recipe for organisational chaos. Senior officers will have their authority undermined, and junior officers will feel obliged to reconsider every instruction.

“ If this is how aviation safety in Australia is to be administered we are in serious trouble."

2ffh April. 1998.

For further information contact Lindsay Tanner on (03) 9.3475000.

-To: zALL C A S A ___ _ 61 3 9347 1351

Subject: CASA Media Policy


The policy of the previous Board on public comment by staff is stated in the Quality Manual. This statement was reviewed by the current Board at its meeting on 12 December 1997 following representations from a staff association, and found to be unduly restrictive. The policy statement will therefore be rewritten and reissued as soon as possible.

The Board agrees with the major thrust of the current statement, in that in normal circumstances the "official organs" of CASA should deal with the media, as they have the training and the skill that is needed for this purpose.

However, in abnormal circumstances when an officer considers that the safety of an operation is threatened, he/she is duty bound to raise the matter with his/her superior. If in the considered opinion of the officer, the action taken is inadequate and the safety of the operation remains threatened, the officer should contact the Director, or in his/her absence, any member of the Board. If this proves to be impossible or inadequate, the officer has no other option than to raise the matter with the media. The Board would expect such a matter would be well within the field of expertise of the officer concerned, and considers that it would be appropriate for the officer to give his/her name and position to the media when

raising the safety issue, as an indication of the sincerity of the officer.

The Board sincerely hopes that it will never be necessary for any officer to raise such matters with the media, but does recognise that even in the best run organisations systems do break down on occasions, and the safety of the public is paramount. Accordingly, this notice should be taken as a policy statement until the formal version in the Quality Manual has been revised and reissued.

Dick Smith Chairman 15 January 1998

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