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Drug and alcohol testing for aviation industry.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

18 March 2004 A36/2004


A review of the safety benefits of introducing a drug and alcohol testing programme for the Australian aviation industry was announced today by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson.

Mr Anderson said the review, to be conducted by the Department of Transport and Regional Services and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), was recommended in an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report released today relating to the investigation into a fatal accident on Hamilton Island in September 2002.

"I have asked CASA and the Department to jointly develop terms of reference for a comprehensive examination of the benefits of such a programme for Australia," Mr Anderson said.

"I expect these terms of reference to be completed, for my consideration, by 16 April 2004.

"I regret the tragic loss of life which resulted from this accident and, while the ATSB was not able to conclusively establish the reasons for it, clearly there is a case for carefully considering the best way to address the impacts of alcohol and drug use on aviation safety.

"The Government's vision is for Australia to have a world class aviation safety regulatory environment, which is why we are taking up the ATSB's recommendation relating to drug and alcohol testing."

Mr Anderson said that current Australian aviation safety regulations prohibited flight crew from being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and he appreciated that the introduction of a testing regime for all safety sensitive personnel in the aviation industry would represent significant change.

Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 02 6277 7680 / 0419 233 989