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Government response to ATSB (Australian Transport Safety recommendations) Launceston recommendations.

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

20 February 2004 A22/2004


The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, today welcomed the results of a safety review in response to an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report on an aviation incident at Launceston.

"In summary, the review proposed some constructive minor changes to the National Airspace System (NAS) in the light of three months of operational experience," Mr Anderson said.

In consultation with the NAS Implementation Group, Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have agreed that further pilot training and education material should be developed and changes made to make visual charts clearer.

Mr Anderson has asked that implementation begin immediately.

The chief executives of CASA (Bruce Byron), Airservices (Bernie Smith), the NAS Implementation Group (Mike Smith) and the Chief of the Air Force (Air Marshal Angus Houston) have each provided assurances to Mr Anderson that in their view the issues identified in the ATSB Report had been satisfactorily responded to.

Mr Anderson said that separately from the response to the ATSB report, it was necessary for Airservices to take action to remedy certain shortcomings in governance which had emerged since the introduction of NAS.

These issues relate to legal advice received by Airservices that it may not have followed proper process in granting approvals for the implementation of NAS Stage 2b; in that it did not conduct its own safety case but rather relied upon the safety analysis conducted by other agencies (including CASA).

"Airservices is responding to the need to protect the organisation from legal and financial risk - not because of anything arising from the ATSB report or the operation of NAS so far."

"I have strongly reiterated to Airservices, and other agencies with responsibilities for introducing the NAS, that the safety of the travelling public should remain their most important consideration and that proper process needs to be observed at all times.

"Furthermore, I am now in the process of examining the future organisational arrangements for airspace. In addition, I will be seeking appropriate senior international experts, particularly from the United States' Federal Aviation Administration, to advise the Government and its agencies on the next stages of the implementation of NAS, which will bring about international harmonisation of our airspace arrangements."

Mr Anderson has welcomed the continuing support for implementation of the NAS as a whole by the majority of parties in the Australian aviation sector. Every agency supports the continued implementation of NAS - which involves 50 steps over several years - and this is about management of one of the 13 steps introduced so far.

Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 0419 233 989