Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Statement on the resignation of Mr Dick Smith as Chairman of CASA.

Download WordDownload Word





Cheryl Kernot MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Development,

Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Services







22 March 1999



Mr Smith’s resignation brings to an end a tu rbulent and unsatisfactory period in aviation safety under the Coalition Government. It has been a period characterised by the Government’s failure to assert its responsibility for aviation safety and by the continuing erosion of public confidence in air safety management in Australia.


Mr Smith’s resignation is not a matter of political scalps. It is the consequence of the Coalition playing politics from day one with this particular appointment.


Mr Smith is a passionate Australian with a passionate commitment to flying. No-one doubts that. But his approach to this particular position as Chairman of the CASA Board, and his vilification of those taking different points of view from his own, has led to his losing the confidence of almost the entire aviation industry. That loss of confidence has become a major impediment to reform within the industry and to the development of a sensible and workable approach to the management of airspace and aviation safety in Australia.


There are also questions of ministerial accountability involved. For months now, the Minister for Transport and Regional Development, Mr John Anderson, has been refusing to take responsibility for what has been happening at CASA. He has allowed an untenable situation to drift for several months, to the detriment of CASA and aviation safety in general. I trust he will now take a stronger interest in aviation safety.


I believe Mr Mick Toller, the Director of CASA, does enjoy the confidence of the majority of the aviation industry and he deserves support from his Minister and from the Government in steering CASA through this crisis.



For comment: Jacqui Flitcroft — (02) 6277 4328 or 0419 395 705